And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. (Genesis 1:2-3 KJ2000)
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined. (Isaiah 9:2, NKJV).
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the Lord? or who has been his counselor?.. For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:33-36 KJ2000)
Could it be that God allows us to go into darkness so that He can shine forth His marvelous light from within us so that He can create the greatest contrast possible for all to see? When a jeweler wants to show the brilliance of a diamond, he displays it on a piece of black velvet, not white satin. A dear sister who has gone through many hard trials and hardships in her life recently wrote on her blog, “God’s living flame which had just begun to burn exceedingly high in my heart in the year 2000… At that time I hoped that I had already finished my long way with God, that is, I thought I had reached the goal of perfect unity with Him. But, alas, it was only the beginning of a long, both blissful and painful way that led me closer and closer to Him. During the following years when I often thought that God would be silent and all the darkness inside me deeper than ever, He had been far closer than ever before… God’s indwelling of a human being is indeed a divine mystery.” (To read the rest of what she wrote see: http://enteringthepromisedland.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/the-living-flame-of-love/)
There is a saying around Christendom, “Be careful what you pray for; you might get it!” His answers don’t always come in the manner that we imagine they will. I remember praying in 1979, “Father, make me like your Son, that I would only do the works I see you doing and only speak the words I hear you saying.” I had enough time to think to myself, “Boy! That was sure a righteous prayer!” Then He answered back, “No my son, that is only the starting point!” This is when He, in answer to my prayer, moved my goal post way down the field and took me off the religious Foosball table I was on, spiritually speaking, and put me onto a real spiritual soccer field by comparison.
I soon found myself in total spiritual darkness. Where I once had thought I was God’s rising star in Christendom (See Isaiah 50:11), He pulled the plug on all my aspirations of becoming someone in the church. In fact, He even pulled the plug on all my aspirations and livelihood in the world! For fourteen years He held me in a spiritual state of darkness where my fleshly senses could no longer sense His presence in any form. Where my flesh and pride were once built up by Him speaking to others prophetically and using me through words of knowledge in people’s lives, I found myself in what some call the dark night of the soul or the wilderness of God. I soon became a spiritual zombie. People could be feeling the presence of God all around me, getting blessed, but not me. I was flat line.
After all those years in this state of spiritual suspension, He finally brought me out, but this time it was different. My flesh no longer wanted to surf on the Spirit’s wave or draw attention to myself. I just was just glad to have my first love relationship with Jesus back again. He was enough. I wanted Him, not what He could do for me. Or as one dear old saint solemnly advised me about that same time, “Seek God’s face, not His hands.” In 1994 I heard Him say to me, “You have not been this way before.” I soon was to find out that He was cutting me off from knowing Him after the flesh.
Paul wrote, “Therefore from now on know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet from now on know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:16-17 KJ2000)
Knowing Christ after the Spirit, His Spirit in us, and not after the flesh, merely by what we read about His earthly life in a book. This has made all the difference–knowing Him as the One who said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you even until the end.” Where I once knew Christ by way of my five natural senses that I depended on so much, He was now fine tuning me to know His living presence by His five spiritual senses. Where once darkness was my all consuming enemy, I could now see that He can abide in the deepest of dark places where my old sense of sight was totally worthless. “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, thou art with me.”
If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hides not from you; but the night shines as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to you.(Psalms 139:11-12 KJ2000)
And when Israel was up against the Red Sea and the army of the Egyptians was at their backs we read,
All this time God’s angel had gone ahead of Israel’s army, but now he moved behind them. A large cloud had also gone ahead of them, but now it moved between the Egyptians and the Israelites. The cloud gave light to the Israelites, but made it dark for the Egyptians, and during the night they could not come any closer. (Exodus 14:19-20 CEV)
Light and darkness are the same to Him! When we are being led out of our spiritual Egypt–a land where our god dwelt in niches and temples made by men–the Egypt side of our understanding only sees darkness, but the side facing His kingdom sees His marvelous light! In this sense, light and darkness are the same unto Him; they serve the same purpose to cut us off from our idolatry and turn us toward worshiping the Father in Spirit and in Truth! Isaiah understood this saying,
Behold, the Lord GOD helps me; who will declare me guilty? Behold, all of them will wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them up. Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the voice of his servant, who walks in darkness and has no light, yet trusts in the name of the LORD and relies upon his God? (Isaiah 50:9-10 RSVA)
Those of us who have gone through the dark night of the soul have seen and heard the accuser of the brethren speaking through other Christians. We feared the Lord even more than before because of the darkness we were in. Often our accusers did not survive and their fleshly works were eaten up, but in Christ we were vindicated. In all these trials we learned how to trust in and lean on Him alone until our darkness became His Light!
Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me. Rejoice not against me, O my enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me. (Micah 7:7-8 KJ2000)
If I say, “Let only darkness cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to thee, the night is bright as the day; for darkness is as light with thee. (Psalms 139:11-12 RSVA)
The whole time we were in that darkness we were actually under the shadow of His wings and were never closer to Him! And when we thought He was silent (to our old way of hearing), He was teaching us subliminally so that our flesh could not rise up again with knowledge that puffs up. Remember, when revelations come to us from the Spirit of God, we can expect His humbling hand to also be upon us as it was with Paul. When we are weak, Christ is made perfect within us.
Many of us who have been severely tested under the hand of the Lord have a wonderful promise that we are starting to see unfold even now:
I will go before you, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of bronze, and cut asunder the bars of iron: And I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the LORD, who call you by your name, am the God of Israel. (Isaiah 45:2-3 KJ2000)
Amen and amen. Thank you for sharing the living Word.
Love, darkness, and light in Him,
Your welcome, my sister! Thanks for your comment.
Love you in Him, too.
People of the world seem to invariably think that John of the Crosse’s, “Dark Night of the Soul” is depression. Oh, if they only knew! It is the farthest thing from that. To be sure, it can be a painful place of suffering, where we feel God has abandoned us; where we are all alone in the darkness, and we grope to sense His Presence but can’t. But we walk on, even haltingly, because we know Jesus is our Savior, and made a promise that He’ll never leave us or forsake us. That He said, the just shall walk by faith and not by sight.
It is a testing and trying place; the dark night of the soul; where our faith and our very soul is being purfied in the furnace of affliction as by fire. Where we are being taken to the cross, a place of suffering as we learn to bow to His will, not our own. To know Jesus and be IN Him, there is no avenue available other than to go to the cross, including taking up our own, and confronting self, and self will. There is no way around it…to try and circumvent the Cross of Christ, will lead to permanent loss. if we seek to save our own life, we will loose it.
“I will go before you, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of bronze, and cut asunder the bars of iron: And I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the LORD, who call you by your name, am the God of Israel”. (Isaiah 45:2-3 KJ2000)
I see this so much more clearly now. The crooked places are those in my own life, He wants to straighten out to walk in HIs narrow way more perfectly according to His will, and by His Spirit. The gates of bronze, and the bars of iron Jesus wants to cut asunder are those things that have held me in bondage, even though they may be things I’ve created myself.
How wonderful it is to know He loves me this much~
Lord Jesus help me to do your will.
Scarlett, what a wonderful reply to what I shared! You have blessed me, dear sister, as you further fleshed-out the meaning of the crooked path being straightened in us and the bars gates of bronze and bars of iron being broken. And yes, we because of past hurts and our reactions to them, have bound ourselves in our own prisons. BUT Jesus came to set the captives free and knows better what is best for us than we do and faith in Him releases Him to do this deeper work in us that we might truly become mature sons and daughters of God. I thank Him with you that He loves us the way we are, but also so much that He doesn’t let us stay that way. Thank you, dear sister, for all that you share!
~ Michael ~
“Those of us who have gone through the dark night of the soul have seen and heard the accuser of the brethren speaking through other Christians. We feared the Lord even more than before because of the darkness we were in. Often our accusers did not survive and their fleshly works were eaten up, but in Christ we were vindicated. In all these trials we learned how to trust in and lean on Him alone until our darkness became His Light!”
Together with what Scarlett wrote, truly proclaims the Way. These dark paths are my experience of the last twenty five years. Those who endure until the end shall be saved. That is enduring the hatred of man. My wife said a few days ago, that misunderstanding leads to rejection. That misunderstanding is often worse than outright rejection. If a consistent experience of misunderstanding and rejection is all that is in store for me the rest of my days, so be it. That darkness that man exerts has ALWAYS been turned to light, and even if that vindicating glory is not seen by me in this life, it will be turned to pure light hereafter, for sure. Who shall fear what man can do to me. If He be for us, who can be against us. Love you brother.
Yes, Russell, thank you for your comment. like I replied to Susanne, God will see us through regardless of what our feelings say or what men say about us. Paul put it this way, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifies. Who is he that condemns? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?…” (Romans 8:33-35 KJ2000). “…let God be true, but every man a liar.”
yes it is so true that if you are to go deeper into your relationship with your creator you will go through times of darkness and or wilderness and this is all with the ontological experiences which far surpasses the epistemological head knowledge–eph.:3:19
What HE said! 🙂
“When a jeweler wants to show the brilliance of a diamond, he displays it on a piece of black velvet, not white satin.”
So true, Michael!! A very good thought!
I have been wondering whether the diamond “feels” the darkness that seems to permeate its essence although it is simply a visual trick? Am not feeling like a diamond currently, to be honest, rather like a black stone that has been plunged into darkness (Susanne’s gallows humor … 😉 )
Susanne, sorry to hear that you feel like you are in such thick darkness. It can be very debilitating when these times come upon us. In Isaiah we read:
“Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:” (Isaiah 46:9-10 KJ2000)
And Jesus said, “But rather seek you the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:31-32 KJ2000). Susanne, no matter what we feel, God is more powerful than our feelings. He has from the foundation of the world known our end from the beginning and it has been His wonderful plan to give His kingdom to YOU! Paul wrote, “May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 RSVA). Aren’t you glad that God is not limited by our feelings. They go up and down all day long, but His will is immovable and His thought toward us are for good and not for evil.
Like David said, “You have hedged me behind and before, and laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Where shall I go from your Spirit? or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend up into heaven, you are there: if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, you are there.”(Psalms 139:5-8 KJ2000). Know, dear sister, that even when we are in thick darkness, HE is there with us for Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you even unto the end.” You are in my heart and in my prayers.
Mother Theresa’s diaries show that she lived without a sense of the Presence of God for 40 years other than 5 weeks. That’s a very long time! It is often a part of the journeys of the saints to feel so dark. The book Prayer at Night by Jim Cotter is a must read as it has Cairns for the journey’ which are a selection of quotes from mystics that address the darkness and give gentle and hopeful perspective in it all. Blessings.
Thank you, Sandra. I will be looking for that book by Cotter. Yes, I had heard that after Mother Theresa had those five wonderful weeks with Christ that her final years were in spiritual darkness. I thank our Father He did not have that for the end of my life but gave me those 14 dark years in the middle.
What has been your own experience, my sister?