How To Shipwreck Your Faith

Have you ever been in the Doldrums?

According to Wikipedia, the doldrums “also called the “equatorial calms”, are the calms and light baffling winds at the intertropical convergence zone. The zone is a band, encircling the Earth just north of the equator, where the winds from the northern and southern hemispheres come together.”

“The Doldrums—the region’s light, shifting, and sometimes completely absent winds—are notorious for trapping sailing ships for days (or even weeks) without enough wind to power their sails.”

Ever feel like that? Trapped for days or even weeks without enough wind to power your sails?

Spiritual doldrums are like that.

They can strike any believer at any time.

Maybe things are going so smoothly that we start to operate on cruise control.

Or maybe things have been so challenging for so long, we don’t have the emotional energy to stay alert.

Maybe we’re just overwhelmed by the information, the options, the headlines, the opinions and the commentary.

We live in the days of information overload. There are sermons to hear, books to read, blogs and websites and social networks to check, magazines to peruse and newsletters to scan, emails to catch up on and DVD’s to watch. Bible study notes to study and calls to make. Devotions to be had and prayer journals to maintain. It’s enough to smother the breath of even a well-fed soul.

The Doldrums are deceptive. They can lull even an experienced sailor into an apathetic daze to where he forgets his reason for setting sail, drifts so far off course he becomes hopelessly lost, shipwrecks his own faith.

The Doldrums are merciless, impartial, dispassionate and are not subject to human will. We can’t outsmart or outmaneuver them; we can’t manipulate them or navigate around them. They are a force beyond our control.

I don’t have a four-step plan for escaping the Doldrums. I don’t have a three-point message with the Biblical cure. I don’t know the ten spiritual secrets for avoiding this section of the sea.

But, I’ve been there.

And I believe the key is the wind – asking for it, that is.

In Luke 11, Jesus asks His listeners which of them, if their children asked them for a fish would give them a snake or if they asked for an egg, would give them a scorpion? He then explains this: “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:13

So, when spiritual apathy strikes. When we find ourselves adrift. When we find it hard to care or to even care that we don’t care. We need to ask Jesus to fill us with the Holy Spirit and trust that He will.

Could it really be that simple?

There’s nothing simple about it. Time in the doldrums strip us of our pride, our self-reliance and any thought that we can rescue ourselves. There can be no arrogance or self-righteousness in the Doldrums because there we meet a force beyond our control.

Asking for the Holy Spirit and waiting for Jesus to respond requires swallowing our pride, adopting a spirit of humility and admitting that we’re stranded far out at sea with no hope for rescue apart from God’s mercy and benevolence.

And that’s exactly why some people remain in the doldrums for months, years, lifetimes.

They’re still trying to paddle their way out or escape under their own steam; like blowing puffs of their own air into their sails.

It’s easy to become discouraged with our spiritual lives and with the spiritual lives of those around us but God showed Ezekiel that He can raise up an army from a field of dry bones.

It went like this: “I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.” (Sounds like some church gatherings I’ve attended.)

“Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’ “So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.” Ezekiel 37:8-10

When you begin to feel like tendons and flesh covered with skin but having no breath in you – ask Jesus for the fresh wind of the Holy Spirit to breathe rescue breaths into your soul.

Admit you are incapable of rescuing yourself, ask for the wind, receive it into your sails and get back on course.

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    The Conversation

  1. Karin says:

    I’ll be back to re-read this!!! Thanks so much!

  2. Fabulous. And timely. Thank you, Lori for this beautiful word picture.

    God bless!

  3. You are so wise and so well spoken! Love it

  4. mark says:

    That was beautiful and encouraging.I’m newly born into Christianity,can’t really quote scripture yet.But I am feeling the welcome warmth and encouragement from so many,yourself included.Thank you