I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. -Ephesians 3:16-19 (NIV)
Some of the most spiritually beautiful people in the world have undergone suffering and been transformed by it. These people seem to have a stronger presence of being, a deeper understanding of life and self, and greater compassion than others. These people do not view suffering as bad, but see all of life as a means to experience God. They transcend the need to label their experiences, but focus instead on knowing God and grasping His fullness in their lives. The cisterns of their souls have been enlarged and filled to the brim with Living Water.
God is powerful enough to use anything in our lives to transform us, if we allow it. It is our trust in God that transforms us, not the event itself. At its most basic level, it is our struggle to remain in that state of trust that stretches and enlarges our souls, that increases our capacity for God's life within us, so that we may be filled with all the fullness of God.
I mentioned that when I was bedridden, God was not accessible to me. There are many reasons why we get disconnected from God. One reason is because God intentionally withdraws Himself from us. He does that to see whether we will seek him more earnestly or walk away. When the water dries up, will we put down deeper roots to seek new sources of water? Will we dig our cisterns deeper until we hit water again? If we choose to dig, then we will have deeper cisterns to hold more of His Spirit when times of infilling come.
I don't know about you, but my Christian life has been characterized by long stretches of drought and thirst. I'm like one of those tabletop sand gardens: you can drag that little wooden rake until your fingers cramp, but you're not going to find any water that way. My spiritual thirst is what propels me and motivates me to seek God, and to keep digging my underground cistern. It worries me when I have no thirst because then I become apathetic and abandon the work beneath my house. If you're not spiritually thirsty, then ask God to revive your thirst. Spiritual revival starts with thirst, not with outpouring. What good is it for God to send rain when all we have are thimbles to catch the rainwater? It is our thirst for God that drives us to seek Him, to plead for his presence, to long for His Living Water, to keep digging our cisterns to hold the water He sends in response to our thirst.
About the Author
Rick Hocker is a game programmer, artist, and author. In 2004, he sustained a back injury that left him bedridden in excruciating pain for six months, followed by a long recovery. He faced the challenges of disability, loss of income, and mounting debt. After emerging from this dark time, he discovered that profound growth had occurred. Three years later, he had a dream that inspired him to write his award-winning book Four in the Garden. His intent was to illustrate one's growth toward deep communion with God, and to share the insights he gained from the personal transformation that resulted from his back injury. Rick lives in Martinez, California, with his husband, Mark. Find out more at rickhocker.com and at amazon.com/dp/0991557700.