Ministry through the Dark Night of the Soul

Photograph Thai vermicelli, Aperia food court by parentheticalpilgrim on 500px
Had a delightful dinner tonight. Dinner companion was someone suffering from clinical depression and on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), yet was able to see clearly how this condition made her depend on God, not as psychological crutch, but rightly, as creature on her Creator. Understanding this, she was able to rejoice even in the darkness.

Came upon an article on “the dark night of the soul” recently. While i may not agree with much of the explanation within, Ministry through the Dark Night very astutely describes what a certain very down period of my life (not amounting to clinical depression) felt like:

“So what is the dark night of the soul? It’s a time when God feels profoundly silent; a time when God feels hidden and inaccessible. Worship, prayer and other spiritual practices no longer deliver the same spiritual consolations that you used to receive. Faith practices begin to feel useless, at times empty, alienating, and even inauthentic. Scripture becomes flat and unappealing and the desire to pray or worship seems to have vanished. During the dark night you are no longer certain of what you know of God or even yourself. In the dark night you can feel helpless, unable to control or understand your spiritual life. While previously you could talk endlessly of your faith and love for God, now words fail. There seems to be no authentic expression for what you’re experiencing, for who or where God is.”

“And yet, despite the loneliness, despite the silence, you notice that sin has no appeal. At times you may want to return to old distractions and escapes, but you find your soul resists these temptations. In the dark night, a person can discover that despite the lack of any spiritual comfort, there remains within the soul a blind trust in God. You feel your faith (your practices, images, words, understandings) dissipating, and yet at the same time you have to admit, somehow your faith persists. Even when you become despondent and try to rid yourself of faith, still, without encouragement, your heart waits for God.”

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