Try as we might to let the sun shine through us…..
Try as we might to remove every hindrance that that blocks His Light in our lives….
Dark times will come.
It’s not a matter of ‘if‘ but rather ‘when‘.
If you are living and breathing, a total eclipse of some kind will eventually come (or already has).
People are born for trouble
as readily as sparks fly up from a fire. Job 5:7
Peter Scazzero in his book, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, describes these dark times as ‘journeying through the wall’, and St John of the Cross describes it as even ‘the dark night of the soul’. These walls and dark nights are seasons of difficult, painful experiences that may cause us to doubt our faith and question whether God is even able to do anything about it, or even if He cares.
These experiences may be through a health crisis, a family tragedy, a financial fallout, or a natural catastrophe. Any number of physical, emotional, relational, or spiritual situations may fling us into a downward spiral. The initial cause may be of our own doing through bad decisions or bad living. It could also be from someone else’s junk, and we get caught in the wake of their trouble.
Peter Scazzero describes it as, “our good feelings of God’s presence evaporate. We feel the door of heaven has been shut as we pray. Darkness, helplessness, weariness, a sense of failure or defeat, barrenness, emptiness, dryness descend upon us. The Christian disciplines that have served us up to this time ‘no longer work’. We can’t see what God is doing and we see little visible fruit in our lives.’ Emotionally Healthy Spirituality
I don’t believe God desires these dark times, but I believe He allows them to happen. I don’t believe for a second God wants us to experience pain and suffering. However, I do believe He will use any situation where Satan attempts to ‘sift us as wheat’ for the purifying of our faith and the maturing of our souls until we are refined into the image of Christ.
Last week, when we talked about the spiritual significance of the eclipse and how it can block the Light in our lives, a wonderful friend had this to say-
……..when you were talking about how we should not let things block our light, I thought about my dark time a few years ago. My spiritual eclipse. Looking back on it, I think now I know what it is like to be in the dark and I work and work and work to keep from letting that ever happen again. Truthfully, that eclipse made me stronger spiritually. I don’t know if I am closer to God, because I was already really close to him. But it made me determined not to ever be put in the dark again. I won’t let anything pass between me and God. I feel ready. I thought about how the eclipse … the dark time…. tried to extinguish my faith but it was still burning bright enough behind it. When you look at the eclipse, there is supposed to be a light circle where the sun is still peaking out around it. That was my faith. It was still there burning bright enough to help me find my way out. No, the pat answers are not enough and, in fact, can be hurtful. Being reminded that God is there with us in our troubles helps. That even though it is dark, he is still there..always has been and always will be. ..Like with the eclipse, if I had focused too hard on it I could have gone blind to my faith. We cannot focus on that…we cannot stare at and dwell on the darkness. That is what I tried to do for a bit….thank God that he was shining through it all.
Yes!! We cannot focus on the dark times, or it might blind us for good! We’ve got to keep focused despite how we feel, how bad the circumstance, how dark the total eclipse may seem that God is with us. God will never leave us. Although we might not feel it, God is carrying us.
Most people would never ask for those dark times. Most who’ve made it to the other side would agree the closeness with God that resulted from it is more precious than gold.
Are you going through a dark time? Are you experiencing your own total eclipse?
What can you do while experiencing the long, dark night?
There’s no formula or 5 steps. To be honest, I feel very limited in offering advice. Pat “Christian” answers often don’t help. It can even make things worse to say “God’s got this.” or “Just keep praying and believing.” Yes, those things are true, but they can fall so flat when someone is in such a dark season that their faith is so weak they can’t even pray.
I offer to meager suggestions;
Practice being in God’s presence…..however you can do that, do it. The feelings may not come quickly, but God is still working deep within us even though we may not feel it or see it. Get up to the Mountain!
Also, encourage others around. Yes, you are hurting and in deep pain. Even in your darkness, out of sheer faith or determined will, do something for someone else. Say a kind word, pay it forward at the drive-thru, whatever you can do, do something for someone else. This is God’s Economy. You will reap a harvest of joy when you sow in kindness.
Have you come through a dark time and lived to tell about it?
God is with you.