Have you ever been so confused about what you were supposed to do with your life, experienced something or a series of things that were so shocking to your system that it shook your very being to the core, or felt like you were outside of your body, and nothing made sense to you anymore? I am convinced that we all experience a time in our lives that changes us forever. I believe that the time that changes us is the darkest and most painful never the lightest and happiest. Some refer to this dark time as the dark night of the soul. The dark night of the soul begins with a clamor of painful experiences and rests on one's body still and quiet. That is perhaps what makes it so painstakingly dark. There is a quiet stillness that is eerie in nature that one cannot escape. You cannot see ahead of you nor behind, nor can you hear it or its faint echo. Instead, you must sit in the dark night of your soul and feel it press upon your body- heavy, thick, and cumbersome. It is in the stillness that the dark night of the soul reveals itself. It is a confounding moment when darkness begets darkness. When all that has been submerged, restless and uneasy spills forth. The shattered parts of our being and the fissures that continue to grow in the areas where we have yet to fully take hold of and understand swirl in a barrage of question marks around the mind and heart. It is the dark night of the soul that beckons a person to reflect on what they once believed about themselves and their role in the world, and their relation to God. In the dark night of the soul, a person must shed the skin of old and experience the complete exposure and destruction of all that was once thought and believed so that rebirth can take place.
The most resilient and wisest people that I have ever read about or have personally met have experienced a dark night of the soul. It was in the destruction of how the person defined themselves and their place in the world that allowed God to simultaneously pour back into them to help redefine and rewire their senses. Life is a series of happenings and events that help us remember who we are and lead us back to where we started in heaven with our Creator. Jesus walks alongside us as we go through the breaking down process even when we cannot see him in the haze of our blurred vision. It is those who chose to face the darkness of their soul with honesty and humility and pliability that birth a maturity and wisdom in their spirit. The illusion that many succumb to in the dark night of the soul, whether it is from an experience with illness, the loss of a loved one, or a traumatic life experience is that the darkness and death of self is where they will always be. Sometimes many fall into the trap of staying in the darkness without growing. It is a fear of experiencing the unknown, so they stay stuck in what feels familiar. This is not to dismiss the intensity of pain many people feel and experience, but rather to share that the darkness of the soul is only meant to be for a season for God to work things out of and work in a person. For some, they get used to being undefined by life. They get used to feeling unloved, invalidated, misunderstood, and lost. They get comfortable being hidden from the world and doing life alone. Any label or thing that they thought they were becomes obsolete. As God strips one of everything in the dark night of the soul and begins to pour a new identity and understanding into the person sometimes there is resistance. The reason that there is resistance to the new is because the new normal in its unfamiliar nature is uncomfortable for one to get used to or accept. Someone who has always felt invisible, for instance, might be confused and not believe when someone acknowledges them and validates their thoughts and feelings. How could one be known when they only experienced being unknown? One of the scarier parts of the dark night of the soul is for some they experience extreme levels of depression and suicidal thoughts, and hopelessness that deters the person from feeling that they can proceed with life. When a person is in this dark period, feelings of meaninglessness and anger leave them with one of two choices. The first choice is to sit and feel their pain with the courage to face the unraveling of what they once thought or understood to make space for the expanse of God's wisdom and revelatory truth of who they are in him and in the world. The second choice is to run in the opposite direction of the darkness of the soul and avoid the healing and growth process. The first option offers a breakdown of self with the opportunity to heal and flourish in the new and the second is the breakdown of the self until there is nothing left.
We are in the hour when many who are called to serve the Church to the end times are coming out of their dark night of the soul. I believe that God had to test, try, expose, and crush to fashion those called to serve to be sure of who they are and where they stand in the world and with God. There was a time in this world that not speaking and going under the radar was wisdom, yet we are in a time where if we are unsure of who we are, where we stand on the earth, and to whom we answer outside the physical realm, we will pay the consequences as will the generations to follow. There was once a time when being neutral was heralded as honorable and was a wise form of self-preservation, yet what once was honorable and preserved may now be dishonorable and damaging. In God’s brilliant plan, he will use what was painful and felt to be harmful for good. While one must first experience the dark night of their soul, there is light at the end of the tunnel. We know in the book of Genesis that there was darkness and it was preceded by God's command for there to be light. While darkness is the prologue light will forever be the denouement. The finality of God's word always will bring us to the light. Genesis 1:1-4 says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.”
So while we all face the uncertainty of who we are and some more painfully than others, if we open our hearts amid the pain, God can guide us through the dark night of the soul so his light can shine forth more powerfully than ever before. God collects our tears and wipes away our fears so that we can receive new eyes to see who we truly are, to hear what he says we are called to do and be, and to speak from a place of knowing to whom we belong. I encourage every one of you to yield to the Father if you have been rushing past or away from the process and allow the unraveling to take place so that God can pour back His truth into you. Running towards the storm and facing the pain and suffering is not without reason. God is purposeful and a promise keeper. He desires his children to have blessings and good things, and to those he loves, he will allow a dark night of the soul to expose where we need healing and where past labels must be destroyed so he can prepare us for all he has for us. Be ready to receive your new identity and for the increase of wisdom and revelatory truth in your life. When you face your darkness God will soon after command- let there be light! And the light he wishes to shine through willing vessels is more brilliant and bright than people could ever imagine. Amen!