Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Dark Night of The Soul

Isaiah 50:10 Who is among you that fears the LORD, That obeys the voice of His servant, That walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.

I sat there and looked at Richard (not his real name). Intensely he looked back as he began to speak. "I need you to answer something honestly for me. Do you think God has abandoned me?" "No I don't." Before I could finish he interrupted and asked, why does it feel that way?"
Through a lengthy discussion, Richard revealed that he has lost a sense of connectedness to God. He is troubled by both the pain inflicted upon him and the harm he has caused others. Although he is a Christian he is in a place of near hopelessness. I wish this were an isolated conversation. The truth is I have had several conversations just like this one recently. Richard and my other brothers and sisters are experiencing a dark night of the soul.
R.C. Sproul describes the dark night of the soul. "This phenomenon describes a malady that the greatest of Christians have suffered from time to time. It was the malady that provoked David to soak his pillow with tears. It was the malady that earned for Jeremiah the sobriquet, “The Weeping Prophet.” It was the malady that so afflicted Martin Luther that his melancholy threatened to destroy him. This is no ordinary fit of depression, but it is a depression that is linked to a crisis of faith, a crisis that comes when one senses the absence of God or gives rise to a feeling of abandonment by Him".
The Sunday I will speak from the Isaiah passage. I have no glib answers to this darkness. I know from Isaiah that I am not to walk in the light of my own fire but to trust in God through the darkness. Paul adds,"For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. (7) But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; (8) we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; (9) persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; (10) always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. (11) For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh". (2 Corinthians 4:6-11 )
Have you experienced a dark night of the soul? Did God reveal Himself through this time? What hope would you offer to others.

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