August 22, 2018
READ: Psalm 23:1-6
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me (v.4).
Since ancient times, faithful Christians have spoken about what John of the Cross called the “dark night of the soul”. This “dark night” descends upon even the most faithful believers, upon those who have walked with God for years. In this dark night, believers can feel spiritually dry for unusually long periods of time, as if they’re just going through the motions of discipleship. It can feel as if God has refused to show up, as if He’s missing in action.
In the dark night, we’re afflicted by doubt. We might think that we must have done something sinful to be experiencing such dryness and darkness, so we scrape our consciences and scour our lives for sin. Yet even after we confess everything we can think of to God and other trusted believers, we feel distant from Him.
We can take comfort in knowing we’re not the only ones who’ve gone through this. We can take comfort in knowing that our feelings and sight, or lack thereof, don’t always tell us the truth about reality. That’s why Paul says, “For we live by believing and not by seeing” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
And we can take comfort in the fact that God often works deeper faith through such dark nights. When we continue to seek Him despite the darkness that envelops us, we can come to a deeper, truer understanding of who God is.
For God is in the darkest nights and valleys, as King David described in Psalm 23:4, “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.” He will never leave or forsake His children (Hebrews 13:5). And as the psalmist confessed, when the Lord is our shepherd, we have all we need (Psalm 23:1). Let’s cling to that truth.
365-day plan: Luke 18:1-14
Read Titus 1:2 and meditate on the promise of life with God.
What have you learned during difficult times in your life? Why are prayer and talking to other trusted believers helpful when enduring a “dark night of the soul”?