And twenty years ago this week, light dawned in my darkness (Psalm 112:4). The dark night of the soul is the time when God focuses on our "outward man" and the things that we do. Dark night of the soul Subscribe to Our Newsletter! The presence of faith gives no guarantee of the absence of spiritual depression; however, the dark night of the soul always gives way to the brightness of the noonday light of the presence of God. In the second dark night, the soul is enkindled with the love of God, the warmth and strength of which comes from God, though the soul assents to it. The Dark Night is a long, pervasive, and very dark experience. All Rights Reserved. Life was mostly ministry, and mostly wonderful. I worshiped. Due to his past dealings with me, I had learned to trust him. The term "dark night (of the soul)" in Roman Catholic spirituality describes a spiritual crisis in the journey toward union with God, like that described by St. John of the Cross. Twenty years ago, in the spring of 1997, I experienced an eclipse of God. I didn’t waver through my teen or early adult years, as I grew in grace. It took no time for the void of God to produce in me the void of meaning. Our prayers seem to go unanswered. For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. This coexistence of faith and spiritual depression is paralleled in other biblical statements of emotive conditions. God’s comfort is absent. For this reason he says, "that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us." In Dark Night of the Soul, Saint John of the Cross presents for us a portrait painted from his own experience of one who advances successfully through the struggles of the spiritual life. During the Dark Night process, the soul brings so much energy to the new path that going against it or resisting it is futile. The poem narrates the purpose of the Soul. For the past twenty years, I have been feeding off the peaceful fruit resulting from the loving, fatherly discipline of the Lord. It was the malady that so afflicted Martin Luther that his melancholy threatened to destroy him. In it he describes the journey of a soul and the unknowable nature of God as “a dark night.” My friend's son could not find a way out. But it wasn’t really my heart cry. Dark Night Of The Soul I have made the statement over the past several weeks during this sermon series that the last words of a person are important words. My God answered. “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. No soul will ever grow deep in the spiritual life unless God works passively in that soul by means of the dark night.” We have a hard time with the dark night. When God Works Deep Inside You. It’s about facing the places where you are stuck and working with God to clear them. What Does it Look Like to 'Do Justice, Love Mercy, and walk Humbly' Today? If the eclipse had a corona, I couldn’t see it. I believed he would only answer in ways that were best for me. Spiritual Growth and Christian Living Resources, Amazing Children's Choir Sings 'I Can Only Imagine', 20 Prayers to Keep God First in the New Year, 10 Ways Wives Disrespect Their Husbands (without Even Realizing It), 10 Bible Reading Plans to Start This January, Get the Power to Go after Your Goals - New Year Devotional - December 29, iBelieve's Top 10 Messages of Hope in the Crisis of 2020, Grace for Families in the New Year - Crosswalk the Devotional - December 30, 5 Things a Wife Really Needs (But Doesn’t Know How to Ask For), 10 Things the Bible Says about the Mark of the Beast, Top News Articles of 2020 Christians Should Know About. the pastor preached with a heart full of trembling awe. Yes, he will. Our God answers. The dark night of my soul is what taught me to love God. Work appeared meaningless, rest appeared meaningless, leisure appeared meaningless, the cosmos appeared meaningless. For me, it’s fitting that a solar eclipse occurred this week. The dark night of the soul is a stage in personal development when a person undergoes a difficult and significant transition to a deeper perception of life and their place in it. In like manner, we see that it is a good thing to go to the house of mourning, but even in mourning, that low feeling must not give way to hatred. In like manner, we see that it is a good thing to go to the house of mourning, but even in mourning, that low feeling must not give way to hatred. That day I was seized with a Grand Doubt, and scales, rather than falling off, filled my heart-eyes. And they were mercifully patient, kind, and surprisingly hopeful and encouraging to me — especially my saintly wife. During the latter months of pregnancy, we had pondered many names. The “dark night of the soul” is a concept that has been discussed for millennia, typically associated with a poem written by St. John of the Cross. not religiousely just speaking from my mouth and my heart was far from it. "With my soul have I desired thee in the night. Elsewhere, the apostle Paul in writing to the Philippians gives them the admonition to be "anxious for nothing," telling them that the cure for anxiety is found on one's knees, that it is the peace of God that calms our spirit and dissipates anxiety. And I remember my pastor telling me, “The Rock under your feet will not long feel like sand.” I loved him for saying it, but it felt so unlikely, especially when the eclipse lingered week after week after weary week. The Dark Night of The Soul is about giving up and grieving. The other best-documented case is that of the 16th-century Spanish mystic, St. John of the Cross. The Dark Night of the Senses is the first of two distinct types of Dark Nights of the Soul according to Saint John of the Cross. Discouragement, worry, or exhaustion press in on us. In a dark night, the person of Jesus is still there, even if a lot of our ideas of God are under question. St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, OCD , a 19th-century French nun and Doctor of the Church , wrote of her own experience of the dark night. Essentially, the “dark night” of your soul is not just a bad day, it’s a complete reboot of your entire operating system. He says that we are "afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down." It is God’s plan for preserving us and bringing us safely to glory. Its solemn stillness helps to free the mind from that perpetual din which the cares of the world will bring around it; and the stars looking down from heaven upon us shine as if they would attract us up to God. If you find yourself in a spiritual dark night, trust him. About an hour later, as I got into bed, I opened my Bible to Hebrews 12:3–11, the text I would read the next morning (italics mine): Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. Irregular updates, but we try, we have children you know You will receive a confirmation email from us within a minute, if you don't see it check the junk/spam folder and mark it as safe and follow the instructions to receive our newsletters. What dies is the egoic sense of self. By Eckhart Tolle. His life depends on it. I think having this information will make the darkness easier to navigate. While a person in the midst of a dark night of the soul knows, on some level, there is a purpose to the pain, the depressed person is embittered and wants to be relieved immediately. Though grief may reach to the roots of our souls, it must not result in bitterness. He calls the dark night a necessity if … So he must learn to trust what the plane’s instruments are telling him, not what his thoughts and feelings are telling him. And then light dawned. The soul desires growth and expansion. I read the Scripture the next morning before the pastor preached with a heart full of trembling awe. As suddenly as the eclipse had come, light now dawned. "With my soul have I desired thee in the night. But in the midst of that, he reminds the church that the treasure we have from God is a treasure that is contained not in vessels of gold and silver but in what the apostle calls "jars of clay." Dark night of the soul Subscribe to Our Newsletter! Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? Yes, I have also experienced it. In my dark night of the soul, I decided to fly by the instruments — to steer by the Bible’s direction until I had enough evidence to determine that it was a faulty instrument. God Went Dark. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? I kept my hand to the vocational plow God had given me, and sought to keep providing for my wife and child. I have learned to turely love God and I wouldn’t take it back for anything.I didn’t want to identify with Job and all of his struggles … My Dark Night of the Soul. The joy of the Christian is one that survives all downturns in life. Neither Jesus nor the apostles ever taught a “dark night of the soul.” The ideas contained in “The Dark Night of the Soul” have been applied in contexts outside of Catholicism. About 9:30 that night I received a phone call from the new worship pastor at church. Persecuted, but not forsaken. The veils of illusion are torn from our eyes. The Dark Night of the Senses is a time when God seems distant – we don’t feel his love or blessings (e.g., Job and the Psalmist, “O Lord, why is your face hidden from me?”). We were part of a growing, healthy, vibrant church that was reaching its local community and sending people to the far reaches of the globe with the gospel. And though it would take a long time for my weakened soul to recover fully, the night was over. As I thanked God for Eliana and a safe birth and how God had answered me, I got to thinking, “It was about a year ago the Lord answered my cry. I suddenly couldn’t see God at all. I was disturbed at the difference I saw between my experience of satisfaction in God and what I read in the Bible. Devotions for Psalm 13:1-6–Dark Night of the Soul June 12-18, 2017 . 4:7-10). For more than 50 years of her life, "Mother Teresa was wrapped in a dark, pitiless silence", according the soon-to-be-saint's biographer, David Scott. My prayer inspired by this Psalm will help you navigate the darkness in your soul and by faith see the unseen light of Christ: In the Night I Remember You Help me! Article Images Copyright ©, Overcoming The Dark Night of the Soul with the Presence of God, How to Start 2021 Strong in the Midst of Chaos. During spiritual initiation or active kundalini Ascension Stages, there are four main types of the down-cycle of spiritual crisis which could be associated with what the ancients and mystics have called the Dark Night of the Soul.These phases of spiritual development are unavoidable, as the "living death" or Ego Death must occur for resurrection of the spiritual body and mind. Jon Bloom serves as author, board chair, and co-founder of Desiring God. I was 31, married to my dearest friend on earth, and had a precious baby boy. If you’re experiencing the Dark Night of the Soul, you will constantly carry around within you a sense of being lost. ©2008 Ligonier Ministries. John Paul Jackson ( Art of Hearing God ) 5 The Dark Night of the Soul. From time to time we all go through trials in which God’s face is hidden from us. The dark night of the soul doesn't come at the beginning of one's journey to God. I had numerous experiences that confirmed to me the New Testament reality of the work and gifts of the Holy Spirit. And when the night falls and we cannot see, Clyde’s two children and their families couldn’t provide adequate care for him either. The difference between the two nights can … A dark night of the soul is not something that one can choose to initiate — or participate in. Life appeared meaningless. God is treating you as sons. By touchofgod77 February 24, 2017 Dark Night of the Soul, Newsletter Index Dark Night of the Soul The Dark Night of the Soul James 1:17 – Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Our faith is not a constant action. The meaninglessness seemed at once compelling and untrue at the same time. I remember the terror of realizing that if I embraced this unbelief, the wonder of my wonderful wife and child would disappear, for whatever “love” I felt toward them would be nothing more than some genetic illusion to encourage and protect reproduction. He might feel like he’s flying straight, when he is actually descending toward the ground. My wife and I were involved with my brother and his wife in the gestational stage of what would become an inner-city, truly multicultural church plant reaching hard-to-reach and hardly-reached people. I was engaged in active gospel ministry from high school on. The hopelessness all the existential philosophers describe raged through me. Night appears to be a time peculiarly favorable to devotion. I cannot capture in words the depths of despair I experienced. The dark night of the soul is a kind of death that you die. Saint Faustina and the Dark Night I was born again somewhere around age 10 or 11, when I first really understood the gospel invitation. The details are too complex to include here, and not crucial to the point. A year later, on Saturday, August 22, 1998, my daughter was born. The bankruptcy of that deceitful fantasy was fully exposed. The dark night of the soul. The reception of this love is facilitated by the fact that the soul cannot take pleasure in any earthly or heavenly delight, so that all the soul’s powers, spiritual and sensual, are devoted exclusively to the love of God. We ask how a person of faith could experience such spiritual lows, but whatever provokes it does not take away from its reality. During this obscure time, God works in a person's unconscious to bring about healing and growth. The first is the purgative way, where we break habits of vice, acquire habits of virtue and learn to live a Catholic life. I write this article as a memorial stone twenty years later. I was earnest about my faith from the beginning. Night appears to be a time peculiarly favorable to devotion. Pain is real and shouldn’t be minimized, but emotions betray us. All rights reserved. The person's role in such a time is not significant. This was a new experience for me. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. I kept my habit of personal devotions, despite how Teflon-coated my soul seemed. Dark night of the soul is spiritual disillusionment, no control over having lost God, no feeling of grace, but surrender to the darkness of being lost to God is grace sought in the search. The Return of Aliveness: The Dark Night of the Soul. This phenomenon describes a malady that the greatest of Christians have suffered from time to time. And God’s promises had always given me more light and hope than anything I had ever known. Dr. R.C. Feeling a bit forced into it, I agreed. Perplexed, but not in despair. These are powerful images that describe the conflict that Christians must endure, but in every place that he describes this phenomenon, he describes at the same time its limits. During the Dark Night process, the soul brings so much energy to the new path that going against it or resisting it is futile. After hearing the "call within a call", Teresa only heard the voice of God once more before her death. During the Dark Night of the Soul you need to trust God in the dark and wait on Him.You will have to ride on sheer blind faith just hanging onto to Rock of Salvation. But suffice it to say, one day that spring an eclipse of God occurred in the sky of my soul. 3. Most people in the world have no experience of lasting joy in their lives. The day after she was born, I was in the hospital cafeteria eating breakfast and having my devotions. The ‘dark night of the soul’ is a term that goes back a long time. If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Traditionally, spiritual directors identify three primary stages (or ways) of growth in holiness. California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information. The term "dark night of the soul" is used in Roman Catholicism for a spiritual crisis in a journey towards union with God, becoming Christlike, like that described by St. John of the Cross. We often know what we want, but when we ask God for it, we usually don’t know what we’re asking for to receive it. As a primordial process of death and rebirth, the Dark Night of the Soul is a period in life where we are stripped of everything that is false. He is the source and fullness of all things, and without him, all joys, all loves, all pursuits are hollow and meaningless. Specifically, when I read how the apostle Paul, in the face of very possible death, the earthly loss of all things, cried from his heart, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). When your body is deeply sick, it pulls your soul downward, like a weight tied around the ankle. This phenomenon describes a malady that the greatest of Christians have suffered from time to time. I determined that God, not my doubts, deserved the benefit of my doubt. The presence of faith gives no guarantee of the absence of spiritual depression; however, the dark night of the soul always gives way to the brightness of the noonday light of the presence of God. Navigating The Dark Night Of The Soul: Your Survival Guide . It is for discipline that you have to endure. When we get to a certain age, typically around 17 to 35, we become who we are going to be for the rest of our lives. The child of God is already seated “in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6). The Dark Night is a long, pervasive, and very dark experience. When Eliana was six, I wrote her song that included these lines: You, Eliana, remind me each day Spiritual depression is real and can be acute. And my God answered. O God. It was Saturday, August 23, 1997. We may lose heart completely. Its solemn stillness helps to free the mind from that perpetual din which the cares of the world will bring around it; and the stars looking down from heaven upon us shine as if they would attract us up to God. We think of the prophet Habakkuk, who in his misery remained confident that despite the setbacks he endured, God would give him feet like hind's feet, feet that would enable him to walk in high places. It is a term used to describe what one could call a collapse of a perceived meaning in life…an eruption into your life of a deep sense of meaninglessness. The dark night is a time of refining. Our response is a choice–choosing to believe God is who He says He is even in the darkest moments.T his is faith. Dark Night of the Soul. During this obscure time, God works in a person's unconscious to bring about healing and growth. The “dark night of the soul” is a term that goes back a long time. It was the malady that provoked David to soak his pillow with tears. In his poem, he talks about the journey of the soul towards a magical reunion with God. “The Dark Night of the Soul is not merely “having a bad day” or even week. The joy that we have sustains us through these dark nights and is not quenched by spiritual depression. Our churches are practical places, and we generally tell people the answer to any spiritual problem is more: … This phenomenon describes a malady that the greatest of Christians have suffered from time to time. What many people fail to realize is that this is a true blessing. Even in persecution, as serious as it may be, we are still not forsaken, and we may be overwhelmed and struck down as Jeremiah spoke of, yet we have room for joy. Of course, I am not sharing this information with you to lessen your pain. Many spiritual greats have written about the Dark Night of the Soul, which is a troubling and incredibly difficult phase of spiritual awakening.. Not everyone on the spiritual path experiences this challenging period, but for those who do, it has the potential to be incredibly transformational. The third phase is the unitive way, in which a soul’s heart and will becomes united perfectly with God. It was the malady that provoked David to soak his pillow with tears. And I determined to do something aircraft pilots must learn to do: fly by the instruments. A believer has God’s peace now; he doesn’t have to experience a “dark night” first (Romans 5:1). But I remember praying something that struck me odd even then: “Lord, just don’t let me lose my faith.”. It is a term used to describe what one could call a collapse of a perceived meaning in life… an eruption into your life of a deep sense of meaninglessness. The presence of faith gives no guarantee of the absence of spiritual depression; however, the dark night of the soul always gives way to the brightness of the noonday light of the presence of God. So we have this pressure to bear, but the pressure, though it is severe, does not crush us. Early in the 16th century, the Spanish mystic and poet, St. John of the cross thought deeply on this subject. He had taught me in other ways to trust his promises over my perceptions. Ask him. It pulls you towards a direction of love, joy, and peace because the soul knows that you are ready for growth. What Is Emotional Purity and How Can You Protect It? Give sunshine to the soul. Immediately after this reminder, the apostle adds, "We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies" (2 Cor. Yes, I have also experienced it. It was the malady that earned for Jeremiah the sobriquet, "The Weeping Prophet." Hear my prayer. I knew I wasn’t wrong to treasure God’s gifts, but I also knew that as long as his steadfast love didn’t taste better than life to me, my heart’s affections were disordered and idolatrous (Psalm 63:3). Of course, death is always painful, but nothing real has actually died there – only an illusory identity. “The Dark Night of the Soul is not merely “having a bad day” or even week. Just whisper to me I’m your son!”. Sometimes He even wants to destroy your ability to believe and have faith until you know that you can believe and have faith in grace. Moving Through A Dark Night of the Soul Into A New Phase of Awakened Light. So, although God appeared absent to me, and at times I seemed a hair’s breadth away from believing it, I didn’t. In like manner, we see that it is a good thing to go to the house of mourning, but even in mourning, that low feeling must not give way to hatred. I believed that truth abstractly, theoretically. An acute awareness of the soul’s nothingness without God comes to light. As a very young boy, I had an awareness of God’s existence and experienced his intervention at certain remarkable points. However, due to God’s past dealings with me, I had learned to trust him. However, the Dark Night of the Soul is a process initiated by the soul. Your Dark Night of the Soul is your wind, your cocoon; it is an ego death whereby you shed the ego that prevents you from embodying your Soul. I had been asking for it, though I didn’t know I was asking for that. The dark night of the spirit, however, occurs when God focuses His spotlight on our "inward man" and who we are. Monday, June 12, 2017–Dark Night of the Soul “Will you forget me forever” (Psalm 13:1a). We’re on a mission to change that. Wait for him. It was the malady that provoked David to soak his pillow with tears. The Dark Night of the Soul. I threw myself on the living room floor and pleaded with God for light and deliverance. A Prayer for the Dark Night of the Soul. 10 Marriage Goals Every Couple Should Have for 2021, This site is a proud member of the Salem Web Network, a subsidiary of, Copyright © 2021, Crosswalk.com. But having just joined the staff, this pastor knew nothing about my spiritual crisis, and I wasn’t going to try and explain it to him then. Again, we can be anxious and nervous and worried without finally submitting to ultimate despair. Dark Night of the Soul is an old concept. All of our resources exist to guide you toward everlasting joy in Jesus Christ. It pulls you towards a direction of love, joy, and peace because the soul knows that you are ready for growth. So I began to fast and pray that God would do in me whatever it took so I would not turn his gifts into idols, that I would love him supremely. DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL INTRODUCTION SOMEWHAT reluctantly, out of respect for a venerable tradition, we publish the Dark Night as a separate treatise, though in reality it is a continuation of the Ascent of Mount Carmel and fulfils the undertakings given in it: The first night or purgation is of the sensual part of the soul, which is treated in the The dark night that St John describes is not abandonment by God but special consideration from Him for those who desire to purify and perfect their souls. 29.7k Likes, 182 Comments - Desiring God (@desiringgod) on Instagram: “In my dark night of the soul, I decided to fly by the instruments — to steer by the Bible’s…” In fact, it must have been right around this time.” So I got out my journal and looked and was stunned again: Eliana was born on the 365th day after God answered me — on the exact corresponding Saturday a year later. The soul desires growth and expansion. Everything appeared hollow. The vanity, emptiness, and striving after the wind that the preacher proclaimed I understood as never before (Ecclesiastes 1:14). God must act on passive man. The dark night of the soul. He and his wife have five children and make their home in the Twin Cities. St. John's term has now been adopted by people of all belief systems to refer to a transformational journey that takes place when you are suffering. "—Isaiah 26:9 . He answered when I asked that he not allow me to lose my faith altogether. The ultimate outcome for a dark night of the soul, is union with the Divine. The depression may be profound, but it is not permanent, nor is it fatal. The poem is obscure metaphor. I suddenly couldn’t see God at all. He is author of three books. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”. I suddenly saw the world as if God … By Bill Gaultiere. Step Sheet. What is the dark night of the soul? He had wonderfully expressed his views on this matter in his poem named Dark Night of the Soul. The Dark Night is a metaphor describing the mystical union between the soul and God in prayer. We may also think that the dark night of the soul is something completely incompatible with the fruit of the Spirit, not only that of faith but also that of joy. Is even in the night of one 's journey to God unspeakable, how can Protect. Favorable to devotion complex to include here, and very dark experience having this information will the! For the dark night of the soul towards a direction of love, joy, and peace the... Monday, June 12, 2017–Dark night of the soul is an old concept is even in the,... Was alone in the world have no experience of lasting joy in Christ! And deliverance grief is a long, pervasive, and I determined God. Trials in which a soul ’ is a kind of death that you have to endure and not... 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