Dark Night Of The Soul

dark night of the soul"Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was." - Exodus 20:21 Moses, the friend of God, once encountered the Lord in a burning bush, and later in a cloud. Now, he was bidden to approach the unapproachable, to meet God in the darkness.

Everything we see in this world as light is darkness, compared to the presence of God.

The light in which God dwells might as well be dark, so blinding and unapproachable is it to us. In order for us to “see” God, to experience His presence, many of us must pass through the “dark night of the soul,” dying to this world, and to ourselves. Only then can we be born again and awaken to the spiritual world.

St. John of the Cross divides this “night” into three stages:1

The first part, our senses, is comparable to DUSK, the point at which things begin to fade from sight, and we find ourselves slipping away from the light, away from the Lord, away from reality. Truth becomes obscured, while long shadows of compromise, doubt, or pain dim our vision, and life begins to take on a dull, empty feeling. The more one tries to find satisfaction through senses, the more dull the senses become. Life becomes a twilight existence.

The second stage is faith, comparable to MIDNIGHT, or total darkness. Darkness might be appealing for a while, because it conceals things we don't want to see. But it also makes us aware of even the smallest sliver of light. Likening midnight to faith might seem odd until you think about the Bible's definition of faith: “The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen” (Hebrews 11:1). The things we can't see are often of God. Areas where He is working, unknown to us. Prayers that are being answered in ways we don't understand. In our darkest hour, we learn to trust the only source of light that is real. Jesus, the light of the world.

Finally, thank the Lord for DAWN, the final stage.

Dawn is God. Dawn breaks once again in our lives as we emerge from the darkness of a deep trial or depression, knowing that through it all, God was there. Once again we can experience gratitude, love, and peace as His spirit washes over our souls like the break of a new day.

If you find yourself living through the “dark night of the soul,” please be encouraged that God is there, waiting in the dark, and His love and constant presence will carry you back into the light. Peers, E, Allison, ed., “Dark Night of the Soul,” by St. John of the Cross (New York, NY:  Image Books, 1959).

[Photo: John Emery, CreationSwap]