This is still another portion of the excellent series by Nancy Missler about the ‘dark’ seasons some Christians find themselves plunged into. On a personal note let me pass along three things I’ve learned–First, it WILL pass when God has accomplished His purpose in allowing it to come upon you. Secondly, regardless of how you feel, He has not left you for one second. And lastly, don’t even TRY to explain what you’re traveling through to other believers who have not been ‘there’..cause I have news for you, if they have never been called to travel this road they will not understand what you’re talking about: in fact you may find yourself surrounded by a few of Job’s “friends”.
The three other segments posted can be found here;
The delights, blessings and benefits that God bestows upon us as a result of the dark night are a hundred thousand times better than the terror we experience in the middle of it.
“He discovereth deep things out of [the] darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow of death.” (Job 12:22)
Some of the blessings and benefits that we experience in our relationship with God are:
• A purging and a cleansing of our soul from sin and unrighteousness.
• Our will becomes one with His as we learn to choose “not my will, but Thine.”
• We experience His Life—His Love, His Wisdom and His Power. Our faith becomes transformed and we begin to have a radical trust in God.
• We see the purposes of His cross more clearly.
• We are no longer concerned about our own wishes, needs, mindset.
• We are delivered from self-pity and self-righteousness.
• We begin to have an overwhelming desire for God.
• We learn more about His grace and acquire more understanding of His ways.
• The Scriptures become alive to us as they never have before. We begin to have deep compassion for others who are suffering and we are eager to comfort them.
• We develop more of His character—His patience and His long-suffering as never before.
• We begin to know the difference between head knowledge and heart knowledge, and
• We begin to experience a serenity and a peace that passeth all understanding.
By going through the dark night of the soul, we should be able to come away not only with a clearer understanding of ourselves, but also with a complete dependence upon God…
Our Reactions Determine Our Walk
How do you react when your dreams, your plans and your hopes blow up in your face? What is your response when you were so sure you had heard from God and you thought He had encouraged you to move ahead, and then, all of a sudden, everything crumbled? How will you act when everything you read in the Bible confirmed your vision and then, out of the blue, your aspirations were destroyed?
How we behave during this time of affliction and crisis has everything to do with the results. In other words, our “reactions” determine our walk with God. How fortunate we are if we can, at least, understand God’s overall plan. Then, even though we might not fully comprehend all the specifics of what He is doing, at least we know enough to stand still and trust Him through it.
If you are in a night season right now, the most important thing you can do is “not fight.” Believe me, I know. I fought God for seven years! Fighting only delays the whole process and makes you miserable in the meantime. Later we will explore in detail not only how we feel going through our night seasons, but also what we are to do in them. We will also study God’s purposes and all the other benefits that come from them.
God is drawing us into the realm of pure faith where we will have no feelings, no sights, no sounds, no smells, no guidance and no helps. He is drawing us into a darkness where we’ll have no other place to go, except to depend upon Him.
Don’t Doubt God
The dark night of the soul often comes upon us suddenly and with no advance warning. This night will end up in either one of two ways. If we know what God’s will is and we relinquish ourselves to Him, then we can experience the glorious eternal and continual presence of God even in the midst of our trial. However, if we are confused about what the dark night is and why God allows it, then we often will experience doubt, unbelief and, eventually, hardness and a falling away from the faith.
We must be aware. Unless we can continually look at our night seasons through God’s eyes and remember His goals and purposes, we can slide into the darkness and never come out.
I’ve been at this point many, many times over the last seven years, and I know how hard it is to pull yourself up and say, “No matter what is going on in my life, I choose to trust and believe in You, God, one more time.” But, the bottom line is, there really isn’t another choice! God is the only answer.
Doubt in God’s faithfulness and His Love will affect everything we do. Doubt quenches God’s Spirit and brings us down faster than anything else. Doubt can devastate and paralyze us simply because it affects every choice we make. Doubt and faith (even though they are opposites) affect everything we think, say and do—one for the good, and the other for bad.
Satan will do anything he can to get us to doubt God’s faithfulness.
He begins by inserting suggestions like, “you ‘re not special to God anymore.” “He doesn’t care about you.” Of course, when you are going through a night season, everything you feel and see at this time validates what he is saying. The enemy loves to agitate us, unquiet us and make things miserable and tormenting for us. Then he moves in for the kill and begins to twist Scripture to confirm the things he is telling us.
Sources of Doubt
Let’s take a moment to point out the three primary sources of doubt.
1) First of all, doubt comes to us through the strategies of Satan and his demonic horde. The devil has been active from the beginning of the world. He won his first victory when he convinced Eve to doubt in the goodness of God. Even though “doubt” has been Satan’s best strategy since the Garden of Eden, human beings are still falling for it today! “Yea, hath God said…?” (Genesis 3:1) By destroying our trust in God’s faithfulness, he devours our commitment to God. And when we surrender to doubt, we quickly become a backslidden statistic and wide open to deception.
We must be diligent to guard ourselves against such thoughts as: “God doesn’t love me”… “He doesn’t care”… “He’s not faithful”… “His promises are not true”… “God is mad at me”… “Others have fallen before me, how am I supposed to make it through? “…
Satan not only deceives us through our own questioning minds and through careless remarks of others, but he also deceives us through our misunderstood circumstances. He is our mortal enemy, and when we are emotionally weak, physically exhausted, mentally confused and spiritually unprepared, he closes in for the kill. Thus, he thrives in our “night seasons.”
2) Another source of doubt comes from dwelling in a world saturated with human wisdom. Worldly values are often the direct opposite of godly values and human wisdom is often the opposite of the wisdom of God. For instance, many Americans believe in evolution simply because it’s what they were taught in school and, yet this popular theory is in direct conflict with the truth of creation. Worldly wisdom can easily infect every aspect of our lives, and the only way to survive this contamination is to constantly renew our minds with the truth of God’s Word.
3) A third source of doubt comes from our own spiritual immaturity, our own double-mindedness. The Greek root word for “double-minded” is psyche, which literally means double-souled. It means two lives are being lived. God’s Life is still resident in our hearts, but because we have emotionally chosen to follow our own doubt and unbelief over what God has told us, self-life has taken over our souls. Double-mindedness is lethally dangerous, because it leaves us wide open for greater deception, which can ultimately lead to more doubt. When we blindly follow Satan around by being double-minded, we will eventually lose our faith in God and our hope in His promises.
Is It Okay to Question God?
Being honest with God is always best. During this difficult time of being in the fire, there will be many genuine and good questions that we will want to ask Him. Questions like: Is this darkness normal for the Christian walk? Is it Scriptural? Is God really the answer to all my needs? Does He know my thoughts and my feelings? Is He going to help me? Does He see all that is going on?
These are some healthy questions. And it is my prayer that these articles can help in answering many of them. However, watch out for questions that have no answers, questions that lead us, once again, to doubt. Questions like: Why is all of this happening to me? Is God angry with me? How could a loving Father ever do this to His child? What did I do to deserve it? Doesn’t He even care? Why has He forsaken me? What am I doing wrong? Why did He give me so much light and then turn it off? Why has He broken His promises to me? How can I ever trust Him again? Why has He made Himself out to be my enemy?
Entertaining this type of doubting questions will pull us down faster than anything else. We must know that God is always ready and willing to help us. He is really the only One who can help us. We must know that He delights in us. And no matter what our failures or our shortcomings are, He promises that He will never leave us or forsake us. Even if He must take us through the valley of the shadow of death in order to reproduce Himself in us, He will never let go of us. He loves us so much that He has even engraved us on the palms of His hands. (Isaiah 49:13-16) He promises to bring us through any trial if we will only let Him.
The closer we get to Jesus, the more it seems we must suffer.
Remember, Jesus is our example and Hebrews 5:8-9 tells us that even though He was a Son, He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. Thus, the only way we can learn obedience is by learning to bar ourselves from all the things in our lives that are unholy and not of faith.
Unless we begin to look at our trials through God’s eyes, we can easily slide into the dark abyss of doubt and unbelief and never come out. My purpose in writing this is to help us “see through the night” (from God’s perspective) and to see the many blessings that come from the darkness. It’s critical that we not let “doubt” take root in us during this time, but allow the Holy Spirit to continually comfort us and minister to us. We must follow Jesus’ example of entrusting our souls into the Father’s hands and constantly saying, not my will, but Thine.