There are times that for us are dry and barren, seemingly empty times. In the Christian tradition they have been called "the desert," "the wilderness", or "the dark night of the soul."
This is likely referring, not to God's chastening hand on someone due to some sin they have fallen into (as seen here). It is more referring to God's hand on a life in Jesus, for change.
Most change in the Christian life is gradual, like the growth of an oak tree. There are times, however, when God knows there needs to be some serious change. Not unlike the pruning Jesus refers to of all who as branches are in him, the true vine. And during those times there may indeed be growth spurts.
In our evangelical Christian tradition, it is indeed hard for us to understand and accept the notion of any "dark night of the soul." We tend to think all should be light, and blessed as in happy.
But if we are willing to really go on into the deepest depths with our Lord and Savior, Jesus, then we'll submit to God's dealing in our lives in ways we cannot understand. And we'll endeavor to be faithful by God's grace and with the wise support of others, through those times. Otherwise we will simply choose to bail out, and live as we did before. A life of knowing God by faith in Jesus, but one that does not mature into the Christ-likeness God has for us in this life.
What would you like to add to this?