Even in Deep Darkness Thou Art with Me

Photo by Joshua Sortino on Unsplash

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. (Isa 9:2, ESV2011)

Dear precious saints of God,

Our Father has a process that He puts many of us through of which the above verse speaks. It is here that all dependence on our natural abilities is stripped away and all we can do is throw ourselves on the mercy and grace of God, even when He seems far away. It is the “afterwards” that He is after (see Hebrews 12:11) even though this dark time in our lives seems to never end. There is a day when the Refiner of Silver and Gold (see Malachi 3:3) looks into the crucible of our afflictions and sees only His own reflection instead of all that soulish dross that is mixed in with it, because our God is a consuming fire.

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. (1John 3:2-3, ESV2011)

We start out as God’s children, but what He is after is sons who are like Christ, the Pattern Son.

For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to perfect the Author of their salvation by sufferings. For both he that sanctifies, and they who are sanctified, are all of one. For which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, (Heb 2:10-11, Haweis)

So we submit ourselves under His mighty hand with this blessed hope of being conformed into the image of Christ.

There are those of us who have passed through the valley of the shadow of death in one way or another, have come out the other side, and fully believe by experience that the flesh (our soul life, that old Adam we were born into) profits nothing. The result is a deeper relationship with our Lord in heavenly places IN Christ Jesus. Isn’t that what we are after, no matter what the cost?

I’ve felt led to post this excerpt from T. Austin-Sparks for those who feel cut-off from God and cry out in the depths of your darkness as Jesus did on the cross, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?!” Remember, rather, His final words in that dark hour, “Into your hands, Father, I commend my spirit.” This is the victory on the other side of this test, the release of our spirit IN Christ Jesus.

We close by referring to this one point. We must seek always to believe in the fact that this Divine life, with all its tremendous potencies, is far deeper down than surrounding conditions and circumstances, than our own physical life, and than our own soul-life. Unless we grasp that, hold that firmly, we have not the ground of victory. When we feel that death is working with such tremendous force in the realm of our bodies or our souls, and everything in this sentient life of ours speaks of death, we are too often in danger of surrendering the whole position. I believe that this thing which is of God is deeper than our mortal being. I believe that it is possible even for children of God, being truly born again and possessing eternal life, to lose their reason and go into an asylum, and yet to have no change made in the deepest fact and reality of the being in relation to the Lord. We touch that point to indicate what we mean – that if our rational life is the sum total of our life, then it is a poor look-out for us. If our sanity, our natural mental balance, is the ground of our being children of God, then some from time to time would have real reason to doubt whether they were born again. And if that is true in the mental, it is true in the physical. This life of the Lord is far deeper than this mortal life of ours.

I am going to say something which may, to some, sound very terrible. It may perplex some, but it may help others. It is this: it is possible for a true child or servant of God, living in true fellowship with Him and walking in the light as far as they have it, to pass through a time of deep and terrible darkness. At such a time it may seem as though the Lord has left them and that Satan has taken His place of government. Prayer seems impossible or useless, and the Bible closed. Evil seems triumphant. The promises of God never to leave nor in anywise to forsake seem to have failed. Things may seem to be even worse than that, and one’s salvation may be brought into question. Such has been the experience of some of the most saintly, devoted, and God-used servants of the Lord. Abraham had it (Genesis 15:12). Jeremiah knew it (Jeremiah 20:7). David knew it (Psalm 22). Job knew it. Our Lord Jesus knew it (Matthew 27:46). Dr. A. B. Simpson had this experience near the end of his wonderful life for God. And so it has been with others.

What is the explanation? With all my heart I do not believe that this seeming forsakenness is true, however real it may seem. In many cases it is because those concerned have done so much damage to the kingdom of Satan that he has rallied all his forces to quench their life and testimony. Or it may be that the enemy has discerned the potential value of a life which will be a menace to his interests. But, whether either of these explanations be true or not so, the fact remains that, where the Lord Jesus truly is, the battle for life often assumes most serious forms. Sometimes it is a devastating and desolating experience.

We need to remember that these are spiritual forces, and spiritual forces stand at no physical barriers. We have a soul, a great nervous system. Children of God for many reasons, and very often after a time of pouring out spiritually, will find their nerves are all a jangle, and they feel anything but good and holy. But are you going to say that that means that after all they are not children of God, and that it is all a myth? Do you mean to say that Elijah was no longer the prophet of the Most High when he cast himself under the juniper tree and asked the Lord to take away his life? He was still the servant of God, still as true to God as ever. We are not trying to excuse our weaknesses, but trying to get to the heart of a situation. That does not argue that the Lord has forsaken, that the Lord is not there, and that such are not the Lord’s children or His servants. It indicates that the enemy has made them marked men or women because of something he is trying to destroy in the life. If you get into that realm, do not accept the suggestions of the enemy or seek to interpret things in the light of circumstances.

If you do not understand this that we are saying, do not strive after an explanation, and please do not put your own construction upon it. There are some who know what it is to have such an assault upon their being, their physical and nervous life as to make them feel that they are lost. I do not believe that it means that they are lost, and it is because some people accept that suggestion from the tempter that they sink into darkness. Oh, that many of these people who feel this thing upon them could know what we are trying to say, that it is for the spirit to rise up in faith and refuse the argument of the seeming! The seeming is sometimes so terribly real. People who have not suffered sometimes say to us: ‘It only seems to be so; it is not really so!’ And we reply: ‘You do not know what you are talking about! It is more real than anything else to those concerned.’ But the Lord will teach us as we go on not to accept that as the final thing. There is something deeper than that. The Lord is deeper than our physical feelings. The Lord is deeper than our soul.

Let me say here what I have said elsewhere. There are times and situations when ordinary lines of communication with a child of God are suspended. They are in a state of unconsciousness. It is useless to speak to them, for they can make no response. But if you pray, so often there is a response, not in words, but deeper than natural consciousness. You touch something deeper; it is the spirit, and spirit responds to spirit. We have known this to happen, even to the point of a hand-squeeze, or a facial glow. It is the mystery of Divine life.

https://www.austin-sparks.net/english/books/000706.html
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

On a personal note:

Sparks in the above paragraph wrote, “There are times and situations when ordinary lines of communication with a child of God are suspended. They are in a state of unconsciousness. It is useless to speak to them, for they can make no response. But if you pray, so often there is a response, not in words, but deeper than natural consciousness. You touch something deeper; it is the spirit, and spirit responds to spirit. We have known this to happen, even to the point of a hand-squeeze, or a facial glow. It is the mystery of Divine life.”

This is very personal to me. I spent 14 years in His wilderness (the dark night of the soul) and I was in this state of “spiritual suspended animation,” during the whole time. It was here that all the things that used to speak to me of the presence of God were gone; fellowship with the saints, inspired reading of the Bible and Christian books, prayer, and even inward feelings of His love, etc. It was like He truly was not there. This was necessary to weaken my soul nature that always wanted to “surf” on what God was doing. My soul would always add its “two bits” to what God was saying and was always seeking to be recognized by others. “I, I, me, me, my!” “Look at me, I’m one of the boys, too!”

But at one point during this time of isolation I met a dear old saint, sat at a table with him, held his hand and felt something deeper. No words were spoken for to do so would have been to defile what God was doing. When I felt I could go on no longer, God would give me enough assurance to hang in there and seek His face. When my wife, Dorothy, felt she could not handle my depression any longer He would give her a promise and encouragement as well. I found out after the end of this long dark tunnel when I came out again into His Light, that He had been teaching me subliminally the whole time in a way that my soul could not feel, relate or find pleasure in. As one brother said to me near the end, “I can see this vast resource God has put within you. When are you going to speak?” I just said, “Only when He tells me to.” So, to this day I try to only write a blog when He gives it to me. I hope some of you can relate and are blessed.

Michael

14 comments on “Even in Deep Darkness Thou Art with Me

  1. dimple says:

    Thank you, Michael. I prayed Jesus’ commendation of my soul this very morning. I have been physically & emotionally low for some time and would appreciate your prayers as well.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Yes, Michael, the Dark Night of the Soul is a hard time for everyone who must go through such darkness. But it is only darkness to our soul and to our old nature. The longer the night lasts, the more spiritual we become; even without our own intervention! When our spirit eventually is ‘more on God’s wavelength’, then we can perceive Him again. However, our feelings have changed!

    It is no longer the soul with its old habits of thinking, reasoning, and reacting to our former mood swings. Instead, we discover our five spiritual senses with which we can taste the Eternal God in a way we would have never imagined in our life beforehand. Everything else that seemed to have been precious to us in this world has become like a nothingness then. Or in Pauls’s words,

    8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ
    9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—
    10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
    11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. (Phil 3:8-11 ESV)

    “The loss of all things” means we have now everything IN Christ. Not things, everything!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Susanne, thanks for your God given insight on what matters in this life. Here are some thoughts about suffering the loss of “all things” and what you mean by “Everything.” There seems to be a difference between things that are temporal those which are eternal. Like my wife is fond of saying, “The best things in life are not THINGS!” Paul said,

      “We look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2Cor 4:18, ESV2011)

      Jesus said,

      “All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knows the Son, but the Father; neither knows any man the Father, except the Son, and he to whomever the Son will reveal him.” (Matt 11:27, KJ2000)

      But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” (Matt 19:26, KJ2000)

      “And all things, whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.” (Matt 21:22, KJ2000)

      “The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand. He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: and he that believes not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:35-36, KJ2000)

      “The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Matt 13:41-43, KJ2000)

      “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.” (Rev 22:14-15, ESV2011)

      It is evident that IN Christ ALL THINGS (Everything) are ours if we are speaking of Everything that is found IN CHRIST. As we can see from this sampling of verses, Jesus is the One who holds all things eternal in His hands. Those things that are not eternal and that offend the righteousness of the Father are under the judgment and are excluded. Thank God that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to all who believe in Him. So what should we be asking for? Only those things which have been given over to Jesus and are eternal in our Father’s kingdom.

      “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matt 6:19-21, ESV2011)

      Liked by 2 people

      • Michael, I agree that we should rather look at those things that are unseen than at what this world has to offer. But even this world (nature, men, animals etc.) was created by God. Speaking about everything that is ours IN Christ, I didn’t exclude the temporal things here because I had an experience 20 years ago where God suddenly opened a door to heaven for me, so to speak, so that I could feel and “see” that everything on this earth belonged to me as well. Not that I felt I “needed” these “things”, but I realized that we are truly Christ’s fellow heirs. That was an overwhelming spiritual incident for me that lasted for a few minutes only. As a confirmation of this experience I thought about the following Scripture.

        21 So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours,
        22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours,
        23 and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. (1 Cor 3:21-23 ESV)

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Dear Susanne,

        I have not been granted any visions of heaven like you. That seems to be how He has chosen to communicate with you (as well as what He shows you on this earth) and it blesses me when you share them. As you know, the Spirit mostly speaks to me through scriptures, so please bear with me while I share the following. I believe what you saw was the redeemed of all of God’s original creation of which we read, “and God saw that it was good.” I am reminded of this passage,

        “For the earnest expectation of the creation (Grk. ktisis – the original formation) waits for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who has subjected the same in hope, Because the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, that is, the redemption of our body.” (Rom 8:19-23, KJ2000)

        It seems that Christ came not only to redeem all who believe INTO Him, but all that was in the original design of God that was good in His sight. I am glad that when He made Adam He said “it is not good that man should be alone” so He created a woman as well. “Male and female made He them”(see Mark 10:6-8). The body of Christ would not be complete without our sisters IN Christ. In Isaiah we read,

        “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.” (Isa 65:17-19, KJ2000)

        For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, says the LORD, so shall your descendants and your name remain. (Isa 66:22, KJ2000)

        And Peter wrote of this saying,

        “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in all holy conduct and godliness, Looking for and hastening unto the coming of the day of God, in which the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, in which dwells righteousness. Therefore, beloved, seeing that you look for such things, be diligent that you may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.” (2Pet 3:11-14, KJ2000)

        And John saw it in Revelation,

        “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.” (Rev 21:1-5, KJ2000)

        Verses like these are why I believe that this earth is like a throw away container that once it has been emptied it has done its job and is done away with. Its purpose has been to provide a “proving ground” on which Christ can bring forth men and women who are “without spot and blameless.” These are they who will dwell in His perfect NEW heaven and NEW earth for eternity without defiling it any longer because of Satin and sin, but be totally ONE with the Father and the Son. My heart sings as I envision all that Father is doing for us and that we can share this vision together.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I am looking forward to spending eternity with you, too, Michael. I only want to paste a Scripture from Paul here.

    7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
    8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
    9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
    10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
    (1 Cor 13:7-10 ESV – emphasis in italics added)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      “That which is perfect is come” We are made perfect in His love. What ever could take the place of a love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things and is never ending? Clinging to “spiritual gifts” like prophesy, tongues, words of knowledge, etc. instead of seeking to walk in God’s perfect love is childishness at best. May we all grow into the perfection of Christ in the Father who is love.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Allan Halton says:

    Thanks for this, Michael. So true. I remember reading The Battle For Life years ago. Still have it on my bookshelf. Time to read it again.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You are an inspiration, Michael. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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