The Doldrums

Posted on November 8, 2023 by Elizabeth Welte in Freedom Fighters

“The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.”- Psalm 145:18-19 (NKJV)


After I heard about this place on earth, I became really grateful that my boat has a motor. The Intertropical Convergence Zone is a place that old-time mariners referred to as “The Doldrums.” From space, the ITCZ appears as a band of clouds along the earth’s equator and, in the water, it’s not a good place if your boat relies only on sail power to get it under way. Because of the collision of the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere’s weather, the winds get cancelled out; but you also get some of the world’s heaviest precipitation too. In the past, sailors would say it was worse to be in “The Doldrums” than to be in the Bermuda (Devils) Triangle. Interesting… Have you ever found yourself saying something along the same lines?


I mean when we’re under a trial or going through tribulation we know that we need to be standing our ground, by putting on the Belt of Truth and the body armor of God’s Righteousness. Lacing up those shoes, knowing that it’s the peace that comes from the Good News. Holding up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Placing that Helmet of Salvation on our heads and taking up the Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. But when there ain’t nuttin’ happen’, it seems like we’re just standing there, in a down-pour, getting wet, letting our armor get rusty.


Well, there’re a few things that can happen in our Christian walk that get us stuck in these spiritual doldrums. Some of us do the “Hokey Pokey” with the things of God. Ya know, “we put our left in, we take our left foot out, we put our left foot in and we shake it all about.” This means we got one foot in church and one foot in the world. The Apostle Paul calls this being carnal. You want enough Jesus to stay outta Hell, but still go “clubbin’” on Saturday nights. Kinda hard to receive the message Sunday morning when your ears are ringing from the night before, ain’t it?


Sometimes we drift into the doldrums. You’re doing all the right things by those around you at work, at home, at church, but you really don’t have a heading for yourself. It’s like being in the ocean, hopping waves for over an hour. You’re really enjoying yourself but eventually the under-toe gets a hold of you and before you realize it, you’re a few hundred yards from your beach umbrella. When we just “wave hop” and we aren’t anchored to Him we find ourselves just doing and never acknowledging that we’re lost.


“Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.” – Psalm 37:7   


Life’s disturbances can push us into the doldrums. They will either get us there and keep us there, or they will happen while we’re there. This is for those of us who feel like they’ve done something wrong and deserve to be here. Kinda like being punished by God. Or maybe even for those of us who go to church, pray, read our Bibles, serve the church, and feel like this is the way God repays them. We’ll start feeling like victims and only see one storm after another.


The one thing we need to take from these few things is that they are external and not internal in their motivation. That’s why Jesus would say if you are angry with someone, you are subject to judgment. If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of Hell. It’s all about what’s going on inside your heart that matters.


In his book, “Fresh Air,” Chris Hodges makes this point. “It’s always much easier to have an external rule to make us behave. But while rules are important, that’s not the gospel. The Good News that Jesus brought is about a transformation of the inner person that makes us different at our core. If you’re ever going to make it out of the doldrums and stay out, then it comes back to your inner motivation. Why do you do what you do? What do you wanna do with your life? Where do you want to go?”


If having a motorized boat can help in keeping sailors outta the ITCZ then I’m gonna guess we need something with power to get us outta our spiritual doldrums. When we look to God’s word for help, we need not to look no farther than James when he advises us to, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8a) Maybe the doldrums are really meant to accomplish something in us that was lacking before we got there.




Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a child of El Elyon, a son, a husband, a father, and has recently become a grandpop. He has an education in Biblical doctrine and is a graduate of The Colony of Mercy, 11/2003. He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can email him at

Think About This: “Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things that don’t really matter.” – Francis Chan

The Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 25. You can download our 2022 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here. 

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:  And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” – Hebrews 12:5-6

Want to get away & have dedicated time to read & learn God’s Word?

Consider a retreat at America’s Keswick retreat center.


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