What do you do when your spiritual fire dies down? What do you do when your soul is in a long, cold winter? I’m sure you’ve experienced this. But maybe you don’t talk about it.
Sooner or later every Christ-follower has to deal with times of coolness towards God: you don’t feel like reading your Bible or praying and you find yourself too busy to seek God. You miss the enthusiasm and sense of closeness you had earlier in your walk with Christ. Probably you feel guilty about the way things are. Maybe you get used to it and think, “I’m just not that spiritual.”
My friend, God loves you just the same! You might be in a Dark Night of the Soul.”
A Dark Night of the Soul
What’s going on in a Dark Night of the Soul? You probably feel abandoned by God. But actually it’s not that God has distanced himself from you or is punishing you. In the cold night he is present and he is trying to draw you into a new relationship in which you might love him not because you feel like it or you should, but simply because he is good and you choose to worship him even if he doesn’t seem to bless you.
I’m afraid that many Christians don’t get through the dark night of the soul. Some lose their relationship with Christ. Others continue to profess the right Christian doctrine and stay “committed,” but their intimacy with Christ and fervor to share his love with others is missing.
What do you do? If you’re in a dark, cold winter spiritually what do you do? Don’t be religious! Do cultivate longing for God by opening your heart to God and sharing your heart with him and Christ’s Ambassadors.
Longing for God
Longing for God is the breath of the soul. But sometimes the only place we can start is longing to long for God. We don’t actually yearn for God but we want to so we pray for God to stir our heart.
Especially in times of darkness or dryness we need to find Scriptures, godly people, nature settings, or deep heart prayers that help us to cultivate our desire for God.
We can cry out with the Psalmist, “My God, why is your face hidden from me? I miss feeling the warmth of your love. I miss the sunshine of your smile.” Talk to someone you trust and respect who can be Christ’s Ambassador to you. Get help cultivating a deep longing for God!
For instance, you might try praying with me:
Lord, I confess that I’ve become cool towards you. I don’t know how to keep seeking your face when I don’t feel like it, unless I go into guilt and pressure.
O that I would have a heart for you like the Psalmist – seeking you just because you alone are good and beautiful! Not for the blessings you might give to me. May I become the kind of person who, like the Psalmist, when stuck in the dark – oppressed, waiting for God to shine his light, waiting waiting him to bring help – still says, “O God, you are my joy and my delight!” (Psalm 43).
Where is God when it’s cold and dark? He could be living and breathing in your heart! This is what John of the Cross experienced during his Dark Night in solitary confinement. So stoke the fires of the Holy Spirit and “take heart” from the Psalmist, praying, “O God, you are my joy and my delight!”
Our world is desperate to see examples of people with heart for God, people who worship God with genuine joy even though they seemingly have no reason to do so because their life circumstances are lousy. These are the brightest lights for Christ in our world. May you and I become the kind of people who shine with the glory of God in good times and bad.
We have more Dark Night of the Soul Prayers to help you or a friend trust Christ when you can’t see him. And we have “Hungry Heart Scripture Meditations” to help you to cultivate your longing for God.