That there needed fidelity in those drynesses or insensibilities and irksomenesses in prayer by which God tries our love to Him; that then was the time for us to make good and effectual acts of resignation whereof one alone would oftentimes very much promote our spiritual advancements.
~ Brother Lawrence
There is so much one can learn from the Spirit-filled insights of Brother Lawrence. I like this quote from him because it is so real and I feel it can apply to most people, if not all, that seek to grow with God and experience Him fully. As we progress in our walk with God, learning new insights, stretching and growing spiritually, we enter into new experiences that help shape and conform us more to Christ and helps strengthen our resolve as believers. One of these experiences that many Christian writers, monks, etc. have written about is a phenomena called "The Dark Night of the Soul." In fact, John of the Cross has a poem about this very thing titled, "Dark Night", it can be found on the "Inspiring Poetry" page of this blog.
This period in one's spiritual timeline can be interpreted by many as a time of great spiritual trial and testing. A time when the believer, removed (or seemingly so) from the presence of God, has to rely on the truest sense of their faith-believing in things that can't be seen (or felt) or otherwise proven in any tangible sense. This is when one's conviction towards God is tested and through the process, strengthened and refined. This is when our faiths are really put to the test.
It's also a time where great humility on the part of the believer is cultivated. Where any illusions of our own knowledge, strength and abilities of being means enough to be sufficient to carry us through this process are quickly vanquished. This is a time when the believer, whether literally or figuritavely, is drawn to her knees in total submission and surrender. A time when one's all is given to God and like a mirror, the believer's human brokeness, is laid bare for the soul to
Is God being unnecessarily cruel?...In Lamentations 3:33-34 it tells us of God:
32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love.
33 For he does not willingly bring affliction
or grief to anyone.
God does not want any unnecessary pain or turmoil for His children.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Sometimes, in this time, our human response to the void God creates in us is to lash back at Him. To doubt, to stomp our feet in anger, in sorrow, in distress. But the fact is, God wants the best for us. And sometimes growing isn't always comfortable. Our initial reactions might not show the best side of us, but God knows us, He expects that response. He knows the pain we will go through during this time of apparant separation. He also knows what awaits us on the other side-and He knows it is well worth it!
God wants us to be strong. He wants us to advance His Kingdom here on earth-spreading love and compassion and hope. He knows our hearts will come under attack. He knows our souls will be tempted. He knows the snares of the enemy that lay ahead on the pathway of sanctification and He wants to give us the strength, direction, clarity and conviction to pass through such spiritual snares unhindered.
He wants us to echo that of Paul's resolve when Paul so faithfully declared:
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
When the believer passes through this Dark Night of the soul, their conviction towards God is solidified and God is truly glorified for the believer goes from being drawn low and almost broken in humility and contrition only to be lifted up by the Grace and Mercy of God in spiritual exaltation, where a reoriented sense of obedience, adoration and conviction for God and belief washes the believer with the renewing sense of God's Spirit and presence once again in his soul. The believer walks into the light out of the darkness truly changed.
Humilty is a central theme to this process and a term that sometimes isn't popular in today's culture. It's importance cannot be overstated. Without a humble and contrite Spirit, we will be barred from fully experiencing God's presence and blessings. I will end this article with some verses relating to humility.
Let me just say this first, before concluding, if you are experiencing this type of spiritual phenemona, take heart-a whole new dimension of experiencing God awaits you! Oh..and one little tip...the quicker you surrender yourself to the process, and God, admitting your weaknesses, confessing and repenting your sins and giving God complete sovereignty over your life, the quicker you move through it.
~abundant blessings in Christ
15 For this is what the high and exalted One says—
he who lives forever, whose name is holy:
“I live in a high and holy place,
but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
and to revive the heart of the contrite.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise
4 Humility is the fear of the LORD;
its wages are riches and honor and life.