Kingdom Corner: Dark Night of the Soul
Have you heard of the dark night of the soul? It happens to nearly everyone at some point in their spiritual life. This week we will discuss what the dark night of the soul is and how to handle it if it happens to you.
As a new believer or a long time Christian, you’ve been doing your best to hold yourself in a faithful manner: Following God’s commandments, forgiving others, and creating a prayerful life. The Bible is your best friend. You feel full of peace. God is good! Then, one day you wake up, and something’s shifted. You find yourself at a loss. You have doubts. Perhaps it began when someone challenged your beliefs. Maybe it’s due to the daily barrage of negativity in the news. Something has you asking “Where is God?” Your faith stumbles. Everything you built up as solid starts to quake, and you no longer feel secure in your beliefs. You may panic or become anxious. Your mind races and you try desperately to recreate the feelings you have lost. Questions and concerns are pitted against your knowledge of the Word. You start to wonder whether God exists or if you are just fooling yourself into believing something that isn’t true.
This is your test. The dark night of the soul will eventually happen to everyone at least once. Sometimes people experience it more than once throughout their spiritual lifetime. Even kindly Mother Theresa went through this painful process. The feeling resembles a dry period, when there is no emotional connection to Christ or the Father. You may ask yourself where the Holy Spirit went. It’s definitely uncomfortable. Imagine your very first day driving alone, or your first job on the very first day. You feel naïve, a little frightened, and totally unsure of yourself and your place in the world. It’s something I call “Spiritual Depression.” Your spirit is depressed and repressed, but you can muster through. It’s just going to take a new level of devotion.
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV
Our Lord God knows exactly what is going on in your life. You don’t even have to tell Him in prayer. Just have faith that He knows and cares. It’s sometimes very difficult during the dark night of the soul to pray. Pray anyway. Even if it feels like you're talking to the walls. God sees your efforts and will reward you.
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. Psalm 34:17 NIV
Even when the dark night of the soul strikes you, be faithful to God. He’s there to talk to you. God wants to help you through the dark night of the soul. You’re going to want to delve deeply into Scripture. Search for verses that help you feel secure and repeat them to yourself daily. Write them on sticky notes and place them around your house and in your wallet. Constantly pray about everything. The more you step out in faith, the stronger you will become in your faith. Find a good book about strengthening faith and splurge on yourself. Treat yourself with compassion. Understand that this is part of the process of being a Christian, and it will pass. The dark night of the soul is a very trying time, but with God on your side, and a good mental attitude, you can stand faithfully in the face of adversity.