Endurance for the Journey, Featured

The Dark Night of the Soul

I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.

“Will the Lord reject forever?
Will he never show his favor again?
Has his unfailing love vanished forever:
Has his promise failed for all time?”
PSALM 77:1,7-8 (NIV)

Saint John of the Cross, a sixteenth-century Spanish mystic, described in a famous poem the experience of a believer who draws close to God through the agonies of desolation and despair. He teaches that one who patiently accepts trials can attain a communion with God unavailable in any other way.

Those who find themselves in such a dark night of the soul often become convinced that God has abandoned them and cast them into darkness – to wander alone in the blackness for weeks, months, even years. But John testifies that such a dark night may lead to brilliant light in the very bosom of God.

Psalm 77 appears to picture just such a dark night of the soul. The psalmist cries out to God – and hears nothing. His soul refuses to be comforted. He wonders when God will again show him favor. Finally he makes a decision: to recall the Lord’s mighty works of the past. He dares to believe that God will again work in his life. And that thought begins to bring him hope. Not light, perhaps not yet – but hope. And hope works even in the dark.

We can rejoice, too,
when we run into problems and trials,
for we know that they help us
develop endurance.
And endurance develops strength of character,
and character strengthens
our confident hope of salvation.
And this hope will not lead to disappointment.
For we know how dearly God loves us,
because he has given us the
Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
ROMANS 5:3-5 (NLT)

On the journey with you,
Jan & Dave Dravecky