Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Dark Night of the Soul

Tomorrow I will catch up on what has been happening in my prayerwalks but I felt lead to share last Sundays Sermon with everyone as I have been getting a lot of people who are going through this phenomenon and don't understand it for what it is.

So Lately I have been talking to a lot of committed Christians who for no apparent reason seem to think that God has stopped listening to them. They feel abandoned by HIM or like he is hiding from them. They say things like: "It feels like my prayers are just bouncing of the walls." or "I have been asking God for _____ for weeks and he doesn't answer me at all." This leads most of them start asking me what do I think is the problem with them that they can't hear or feel God in their life anymore. As a pastor this is one of the most frustrating questions to be asked. I mean if there is sin in their life then that is probably what is blocking God and usually he will tell me or the person I am talking to will let something slip that shows me what is between them and God but a lot of times they are living in right relationship and still aren't hearing the voice of God or feel his presence in their lives. When that happens I try to explain that besides unconfused sin there are two other reasons that we might not be hearing from God.
So the first reason besides a break in your relationship with God is that the enemy is delaying God's answer to you so that you will either accuse yourself of some unknown unresolved sin or so that you will accuse God of breaking his promise to never leave us. (Hebrews13:5, Deuteronomy 31:6 and Matthew 28:20) God is Truth and therefore cannot lie since he promised to never leave us, to be with us till the end of the earth then we know that he is hear. Since he promise "call on me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things you don't know" (Jeremiah 33:3) we know that he is keeping his word. But if we look at Daniel chapter 10 we see an example of the enemy delaying an answer to prayer. Daniel 10:12&13 say this:
12 Then he continued, "Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.
for 21 days the answer to Daniels prayers were delayed by the prince of Persia this is not a physical prince but the demonic prince of the region of Persia. Why would Satan or his demons delay our answer from getting to us
Well scripture tells us that he is the accuser. The response of everyone I talked to about this recently proves it they all wanted to know what sin they were committing that was stopping God from having fellowship with him. Sometimes it is sin but if it is God will reveal it so that it can be dealt with. Satan also uses it to accuse God of breaking his promise. This is the oldest trick in his arsenal of tricks against mankind. it is the one he used on eve in the garden if you think about it boiled down to its most basic is God is a liar he is keeping stuff from you he didn’t keep his word to make you in his image. He made you less than him. And we buy into it almost every time at least until we learn that is what he is doing and then we are aware of this trick and it doesn’t work as well. There is one other reason for us not to hear God for a period and it was called by the Christian mystics of old the "Dark Night of the Soul.
2. The Dark Night of the Soul was a term created by Saint John of the Cross in 1587. It is a time of Stillness when God hides his presence from our perception to cause us to seek him harder. It happens only when God is trying to take us to a new level of relationship with Him. It leads to a deadening for a period of time of everything spiritual in our lives we have no desire to seek the things of God. By that I mean we don't "feel" like it we may want to in our spirit but our emotions seem to disconnect from our spirit. We are as several people have told me lately "Just going through the motions" This is held out in scripture look at most of the psalms of David they are either songs of praise to God or cries for God not to hide himself any longer. As an example look at Psalms13: 1-3 in those first three verses of this psalm David ask how long to God 4 times and ends verse three by saying if you don't reveal yourself to me soon I am going to die. And yet the Psalm ends with David standing in faith on what he knows to be true not what he is feeling is the truth. Read this whole psalm to see what I am talking about. Some people ask me how I know that the Dark night of the soul is not just sin in our lives that we don't know about. My answer is found in Isaiah 50:10 It says "Who among you fears the LORD? Who obeys the voice of His Servant? Who walks in darkness And has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD And rely upon his God." Notice that those who walk in darkness and have no light put their trust in God. This is a Biblical description of that Dark Night of the Soul.
If you happen to be finding yourself in a Dark Night of the Soul take heart they are not permanent they are to see if you are willing to press on and in doing so you enter into a deeper relationship with God that isn’t based on feelings or what you can see and hear and feel but on what you KNOW is True.