"He asked them, ‘What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?’ They stopped short, sadness written across their faces.” Luke 24:17 (NLT)
In today's scripture, two friends are walking together. Jesus, the one they loved, has died. Worse, yet, the women said they had found the tomb empty. Jesus wasn't there. You can just imagine their sadness and confusion. Jesus was no where to be found.
That's the way I've felt this week. I've fasted and prayed, failed and got back up, reminded myself that no matter how it looks or how it feels, Jesus is with me always. His Holy Spirit lives within me. He promised He would never leave me or forsake me...and yet, I've felt sad and confused because the one I walk with daily, the one who regularly speaks to my heart has been silent.
They call this the dark night of the soul - a depression that is linked to a crisis of faith, a crisis that comes when one senses the absence of God or gives rise to a feeling of abandonment by Him.
Before you jump in to tell me why it's so wrong to feel abandoned by God, let me say, I've been preaching all those things to myself all week. I know that the way I feel is not reality. I also know that we are not to live by our feelings and I know that this feeling will not last, but while in it, I'm miserable.
I miss that closeness with my Lord, those intimate moments when He whispers in my ear or let's me catch a glimpse of Him in things/people around me.
And in case you think it might be sin that's standing between us or that I have not been seeking Him, I've been spending more time in soul-searching repentance and in His word than usual.
So, why do I tell you all this? Because I have a sneaking suspicion that I am not the only believer that goes through this. In fact, I'm not at all sure that God doesn't orchestrate these dry spells in our relationship so that I learn to walk by faith, not by sight.
While I'm okay with that, because I want to be strong in my faith, I sure don't enjoy the process!
So, what do we do when we're experiencing a dark night of the soul? First of all, don't go buy a box of chocolate eclairs and eat them all at one sitting. (I may or may not have done this yesterday.) In fact, don't do anything to try to fill up that emptiness, for nothing but Jesus will satisfy. Just keep doing what you know is right. Pray, seek Him, read His word, pray some more. Praise Him, recall all the ways in which He blesses your life and thank Him for it.
In other words, keep walking with Jesus, even though you can see, hear or feel Him at the moment, He is there!
Note: as it turns out, our two friends from the scripture above were not alone. Jesus was with them all the time, for in verses 15 & 16, we read...
How about you? Do you go through times like this? What helps you get through it?
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