sharper focus “Darkness”
By Erin Wikle, Soldier
I’m coming out of a few weeks of spiritual darkness. A period of time where desire and ability to journal, pray and be still before the Lord has been difficult. A time where a spirit of oppression has been lurking about my home, causing me to wrestle with deep faith issues within that I am unable to articulate aloud. Have you ever experienced this?
Though I certainly don’t compare my spiritual experience with that of St. John of the Cross, St. Paul or St. Theresa, in my studies of their unique experiences, I’ve found commonality amongst these saints and this soldier. These periods of darkness can result from great spiritual growth, once the Enemy begins to recognize that good things are happening in God’s kingdom, and he’s alerted to do something to stop it. Or often, God himself can be calling us to greater depths with him, showing us areas that perhaps we’ve withheld from his lordship, reminding us of our great need of Savior every moment of every day.
As I waded through muddy waters of uncertainty, I began to question my understanding of God’s great love for me. I wanted the darkness to lift; I wanted relief from the oppression; I wanted to experience the love of God anew. It was as though my understanding of God’s great love for me had become so tainted by my own humanity and fallenness that what I so desired to believe in my heart was being overwhelmed by lies the Enemy was speaking over my mind. Holy Spirit has had to help reconstruct my understanding of a God whose love I believed in, but needed to, once again, richly experience. I needed a convincing work to take place.
Paul writes, And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love (Rom. 8:38 NLT).
Do you hear that? Paul wrote, spoke, lived, loved and breathed from a place of absolute conviction about the love of God. That nothing could separate us from the love of God was the truth whispered into my head and breathed over my heart as I, once again, allowed Holy Spirit to convince me that the very God who created me, who sent his Son to die for me, and who longed for relationship with me…loved me—in darkness and in light, through oppression and freedom, when I was born, 30 years later, and when I die. He. Loves. Me.
Are you not convinced? Are you not convicted? Ask Holy Spirit to bring both.
Spiritual darkness doesn’t preclude deep relationship with the Lord. In fact, it so often leads to deeper relationship with him. I urge you to remain in a place of utter dependency on him, learning to press in through periods of uncertainty and darkness in order to break through into his glory and light.
“God sustains every soul and dwells in it substantially, even though it be that of the greatest sinner in the world, and this union is natural. The supernatural union exists when God’s will and the soul’s will are in conformity. Therefore the soul rests transformed in God through love” (Dark Night of the Soul, Book 2, chapter 5, #3, #8).