When Life Chews You Up and Spits You Out - How to Banish the Dark Night of the Soul
Saint John of the Cross first coined the phrase “dark night of the soul” in his poem, “The Dark Night.” Others, ranging from Mother Teresa, to F. Scott Fitzgerald, to the heavy metal band Fear Factory have all used the term to describe various degrees of spiritual struggle. Even soap opera stars Bridget Forrester and Brooke Logan discussed “spirituality and the purpose of human existence” in an episode of The Bold and the Beautiful  by quoting lines from the poem.*

Most of us fall somewhere between Mother Teresa and the soap opera stars, but what we have in common is the experience of spiritual struggle. Dark nights of the soul sometimes strike us unaware. They descend in all their inky blackness like the rapid onset of an eclipse. Other times they creep into our lives subtly, as lengthening shadows across a lawn, slowly stealing the light from our days.

Dark nights of the soul wear different faces, too. Death is a common one, with Disappointment and Depression competing for second place. Financial loss hangs in Dark Night’s wardrobe next to Illness and Infidelity. Fear and Hopelessness dangle like accessories to complete the outfit.

We reach a crisis of faith, and we doubt we can hold on another moment.

What are we to do?

King David experienced the dark night of the soul. “Save me, O God,” he writes, “for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help” (Psalm 69:1-3).

The apostle Paul did too. “We were under great pressure,” he writes, “far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9).

These men point us to the light that has the power to banish the dark night of the soul:

“Unless your law had been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction,” testifies David in Psalm 119:92.
Here are 6 ways God’s Word banishes the dark night of the soul:
1.  It reminds us of God’s character. “You, O Lord, are good,”(2 Chronicles 7:30).

2.  It reminds us of God’s love. “. . .  and your love endures forever” (2 Chronicles 7:3).

3.  It reminds us that our trials are temporary. “Weeping endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning”(Psalm 30:5).

4.  It reminds us that our trials have purpose. “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

5.  It reminds us that we are not alone. “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever” (John 14:16).

6.  It reminds us of our future. “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

If you are experiencing a dark night of the soul, I encourage you to fill yourself with God’s Word. The Psalms are a beautiful place to begin. The more light you bring into your heart and life, the less room there is for darkness. Even a tiny candle bids the darkness flee.

And if your life is sunny, without even a shifting shadow, I encourage you to also fill yourself with God’s Word. The time to build spiritual muscle is not in the midst of trial. The healthier your spirit is, the stronger you will be to weather the dark nights that come to every believer.

What are some ways God’s Word has ministered to you during dark nights? Join the conversation by leaving a comment below:

For more encouragement, please visit this link: Reasons to Keep Climbing

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  1. WE ARE NOT ALONE! Sometimes I feel like I need to shout that at myself. Even when it seems that all others fall away, God is there with us and for us. Great reminders, Lori. Thank you!

  2. Lori this is AWESOME! And the you are so right that we need to be the squirrel and store up for the times when we have winter in our lives! The story of Joseph so comes to mind when I think of storing and preparing.

    Thanks for joining in the fun with me this week!

  3. God's Word has been my lamp in those very dark times, Lori. Your post is full of wisdom and practical principles--bringing light to a very dark and inescapable reality in life. Thanks so much for sharing! I'm praying that it ministers to those caught in this darkness.

  4. Love this...what an awesome reminder and a great way to share the God's Light dismisses all darkness.

  5. The Psalms have been such a comfort to me in those dark times of my life. Things don't stay dark when I read the Psalms even though often the circumstances don't change.

    Thanks for linking up this week over at WholeHearted Home.

  6. I am exclaiming Wow! with these other commenters! Excellent insights...This is such excellent truth and I'm so glad you linked up it up to encourage others at Deep Roots :)