The Dark Night of the Soul

God has promised, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9). If you get up from your knees and don’t feel any different, and you don’t feel forgiven, does that mean He has not forgiven you?

So you again tell Jesus you trust in Him as your Savior—because He promised that all those who received Him are children of God (John 1:12). And again you don’t feel any different. Does that mean you don’t really belong to Him?

He promises, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” And, “I am with you always even unto the end of the world.” If you do not “feel” his presence with you, does that mean he has abandoned you?

Actually this is not uncommon with Christians who want a close fellowship with God. The mystics through the ages called it “The dark night of the soul.” At times this “dark night” continued for years. It is not an unusual experience.

This “darkness” may be because we confuse “feeling” for “faith” — we depend on how we feel.  …how we feel about God’s presence …or how we feel about being forgiven.

I have appreciated a couple paragraphs from a small book called “The Sanctified Life” by Ellen G. White:

            Many who are sincerely seeking for holiness of heart and purity of life seem perplexed and discouraged. They are constantly looking to themselves, and lamenting their lack of faith; and because they have no faith, they feel that they cannot claim the blessing of God. These persons mistake feeling for faith. They look above the simplicity of true faith, and thus bring great darkness upon their souls. They should turn the mind from self, to dwell upon the mercy and goodness of God and to recount His promises, and then simply believe that He will fulfill His word. We are not to trust in our faith, but in the promises of God. When we repent of our past transgressions of His law, and resolve to render obedience in the future, we should believe that God for Christ’s sake accepts us, and forgives our sins.

Darkness and discouragement will sometimes come upon the soul and threaten to overwhelm us, but we should not cast away our confidence. We must keep the eye fixed on Jesus, feeling or no feeling. We should seek to faithfully perform every known duty, and then calmly rest in the promises of God.

At times a deep sense of our unworthiness will send a thrill of terror through the soul, but this is no evidence that God has changed toward us, or we toward God. No effort should be made to rein the mind up to a certain intensity of emotion. We may not feel today the peace and joy which we felt yesterday; but we should by faith grasp the hand of Christ, and trust Him as fully in the darkness as in the light.

Ellen White, The Sanctified Life, p. 89 – 90

God understands the weakness of human nature — that men get tired, fatigued, and discouraged. Scripture says, “He knows that we are dust.” and “He is touched with the feelings, infirmities”

So never trust how you feel. But rather trust in what God, who does not lie, has promised.

The Apostle John said if we do not believe His promises, we are calling God a liar! (1 John 5:10-11) —that’s strong language! Rom 5:8

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