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The Discipline of Darkness

by on February 14, 2012

I’ve recently been witness to an alarming number of considerably “mature” believers who have vacated their places in leadership and influence thinking that there must be something wrong “in the spirit” because they are experiencing a season of darkness.  My question to us this morning is, when did darkness cease being the opening and closing of day?  As Christ followers, why do we look at the darkness with such disdain?  Even in creation God saw a place for darkness;  He did not call it cursed, He called it night!

Consider Job.  Would you say that he went through a season of darkness?  Before you draw a breath of rebuttal, you might want to consider that when you look up the word darkness in the bible, no other book bears the word more frequently than the book of Job.  What’s more, I cannot think of another individual who experienced such great darkness of soul and circumstance than Job – and that, at the permission of God.

Saint John of the Cross spoke about the Dark Night of the Soul referring to seasons (hours, days, weeks and for some years) of time when it seems that God is at a distance and that prayer and worship fall to the ground just inches from our feet.  We consider times such as these and immediately look to some gross sin or disobedience in our life that has brought about a forsaken state, or perhaps in self-righteousness we believe that the acquaintance with the sin or spiritual error of someone else has caused the light of Christ to grow dim to our eyes.

In our spiritual lives we experience a sunset and shiver in the corner somewhere begging God to restore the light while in the natural world we see the sunset, marvel at its splendor – even take pictures of it (okay, that may just be a Florida thing) go home, put on our “comfies”  and look forward to a few hours rest.  We lay our head on the pillow with little concern that the sun will rise in the morning – and for the believer we can rest assured that in the morning we will either see the sun or the Son either way, it will be light all around us!

What are we to do when we find ourselves in a night season?  I hope to consider that with you in the next few posts, but what we should not do – what we should resist – is retreat.  One of the most dangerous things a person can do during the night is to start wondering around in the dark.  Yet, that seems to be the compulsion of most Christians who find themselves in a season of darkness.  We (and I do mean “we”) seem to get so alarmed when we can’t figure God out or when we can’t “feel” Him.  Yet, I’m reminded more and more in those times that often when our fight or flight defenses rise, that often a calm voice can be heard over the dim of confusion or chaos, “be still and see the salvation of the Lord”.  In those times when warriors want to fight and wimps what to run, God often requires that we simply stand still – settle in the silence and listen for His voice.

Saints, it is in the darkness that we start seeing a creepy creature in every shadow and hear the footsteps of a monster in every creak.  We are not children compelled to pull the sheets over our heads and to hide in fear.  No, it’s time to be still – listen and watch the creative hand of God at work even in the night seasons.

Today’s suggested scripture reading:  Ecclesiastes 11:3-8

Pressing in,

Pastor Terry


From → Dr. Terry Jones

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