When doldrums exist in the equatorial regions of the ocean—there is a deadness in the air. Because of the heat that is present at this part of the earth, the waters can superheat due to having little of no wind to dissipate the heat that settles on them. This can cause the most erratic of storm patterns. One moment doldrums can be completely calm—with the winds dead as can be. The problem is that in a matter of moments, the superheated water can rise and cause very dangerous thunderstorms called, “super-cells” to form. It is in these moments that a sailor needs to be able to read not just the winds, but the skies as well. Experienced sailors knew that when their ships were caught in doldrums—there was a high likelihood that there also might be a storm before things were over. Therefore they watched the skies diligently for any kind of sudden updraft of air or formation of a super-cell.
Anyone who has had a bout of spiritual doldrums knows that this is true in the spiritual realms as well. We can move from a time that seems spiritually lifeless—to a situation where we are in a serious spiritual battle or storm. We need to be reminded of the admonition to “watch and pray” because our adversary the devil is like a roaring lion—seeking someone to devour. If you’ve never gone from a doldrums to a battle—you cannot imagine the way things go from ridiculously slow to overwhelming in a matter of moments. This is why we need to be alert in times of spiritual doldrums—and not be lulled into spiritual slumber. There were sailors whose entire job was to watch the skies during these times. A lack of attentiveness by the “watch” could mean the difference between life and death in an approaching storm. Therefore we need to be watchful—even in times when things seem boring and slow. Most of us have heard the saying, “the lull before the storm.” That is often what spiritual doldrums are—the quietness and seeming calm right before things break loose and get pretty crazy. The wise man makes his way through these times using discipline to maintain his spiritual edge—but also using spiritual discernment to be aware of trouble on the horizon. This way he is not off guard when the storms break loose. He is ready—watching—praying—and alert to the spiritual atmosphere around him.