Writers speak of the dark night of the soul. As I study their writings, looking to be guided by their experiences, I find myself recognizing the time we are living in. This is a time filled with the silence of reflection. Circumstances dictate that we step back and examine the events of the recent past. The traditional foundations we have come to rely on are no longer reliable. Givens in our lives are now question marks. Everything is uncertain, challenged by chaos, and filled with a sense of darkness.
In this situation, I find that my greatest challenger is my soul. I wrestle with myself to hold onto hope. I am fighting with myself to hold onto the values and priorities I hold closest to my heart. In the darkness, I know this enemy well, yet this knowledge does not seem to help me win. It is a battle that seems to be endless.
I look and wonder how Peter felt in a quiet and dark moment. He had been led by God to safety, away from prison and certain death, and found himself at the door of a friend’s home. The streets were deserted. The quietness was deafening. I am sure he could hear the beat of his heart. He wanted in, but there was no answer. Even while “all this time poor Peter was standing out in the street, knocking away,” (Acts 12.16) he wondered how long should he wait. Was giving up the only solution at hand?
I would never suggest that one willingly volunteer for a dark night for the soul. At the same time, if one finds one’s self in that space, my advice is to walk slowly and learn from what is happening all around you. Breathe in the experience. Let it wash over you, filling your heart and mind. Struggle with what is happening.
This is a time to reconnect with God and our hearts. God’s Spirit is with us, willing to help fight these battles. We will be left with fresh opportunities. They come with the dawn’s light.