Last week I shared some about facing the doldrums of life—when not much is going on spiritually—at least not much that we can see. Building on the whole idea of the doldrums of life—I want to offer additional encouragement this week. As review—the doldrums are a wind pattern that exist around the equator. As the winds reach this area they come under tremendous pressure and instead of blowing from side to side, they blow upwards. This creates stagnant winds or no wind at all. What winds that blow are erratic—and come from numerous directions in just a matter of hours. Sailing is difficult when this happens and requires those who do so to constantly set their bearings. If they do not—the wind can take them completely off course. That is what I want to speak of today—maintaining focus and our course heading spiritually when the winds of God begin to die down for a season.
One of the difficult things to do in spiritual doldrums is maintain our course and our focus. It is during these times that we feel as if we are drifting aimlessly. For those who sail in the doldrums, this is very difficult. Little winds rise up from multiple directions and often the inexperienced sailor will catch them and use them. But the experienced sailor knows these winds are very deceptive. They are difficult to use and will take the ship off course. It is better to keep ones heading—check it often—and wait for the right winds to return.
Oh, how this is true in the spiritual as well. When things seem spiritually stagnant—that is the time to be very careful about the “winds of doctrine” that want to blow us off course. We can get so spiritually desperate that we decide to catch the wind of a questionable doctrine—just so we feel like we’re moving spiritually again. The problem is that these doctrines that tantalize us with more “feelings” and “emotions” come with serious theological baggage that will have to be unpacked later. It is better to wait out our spiritual doldrums, checking our course heading again and again to make sure that we are not getting off course. The way sailors would do this was to look up at the stars and set their course according to the unerring direction that they would give. This is true of the spiritual as well. We do not need to look outward at others during this time. If we do, we will get off course. We need to look up to the Lord and His Word for His unerring guidance to keep us on track until the winds of His Spirit rise to move us again in His directions. Catching any wind that blows by is dangerous—especially if all we want is movement. We need to look up to the Lord—and check our course chart—His Word. If the direction of the wind is contrary to this information—we need to ignore those “false” winds and wait on the Lord till He graciously grants that the winds of truth rise to move us again.