My experience is sometimes in what seems to be something of the “dark night of the soul.” It sometimes seems so excruciating, that I am not sure how I can bear it any longer. And yet I’ve lived with something of that off and on for years.
Lately through the faithful help and ministry of our pastors, Jack and Sharon Brown, the dark cloud has been lifting. Though at the same time, I actually do want to experience whatever there is of the dark night that the Lord has for me, to bring me more and more into his light.
Yesterday to some extent I was suffering this. It is no fun, hard to be there, deep inward pain, though I can’t compare it to what others have experienced. Indeed, I doubt that it is nearly as bad as many. But there have been times when it just seems like it couldn’t get much worse. Well, it was present yesterday. I didn’t like it, and do well to want to be sure I’m the same before my teammates at work. Though I can be pretty honest with them. I believe Jesus is present with us, and we can be honest before him with each other (I work at a Christian organization, RBC Ministries).
I finally simply embraced it as best I could. Probably reciting both the Jesus Creed along with the Lord’s/Our Father Prayer, and praying for others, particularly for those close to me in great need. Just trying to go on. And by and by I felt the cloud lifting. So that at least there was some relief from it.
What I learn from this is both to accept the dark night of the soul as a gift from God to help me in the way of the Lord, out of my own darkness (including my own light) into the Lord’s light. And to know that the Lord is present, and such suffering is only for a time. In my experience, this can come and go.
I don’t think lightly for a moment of those who go through this, just because I have experienced it I think, in some measure. Not at all. They need our love and prayers. And also our encouragement not to see such times as the Lord’s abandonment of them. But rather that they are treasured by the Lord, and that this is a part of his good work, even if strange to us, for our good, and the good of others.
And we do this, and live in it, together in Jesus for the world.