As we saw in a previous article, the Lord allows
the dark night to happen to all of His beloved children,
and especially those who are the most faithful, the most loving
and who want all of Him. As Revelation 3:19 says, God chastens
those He loves.
This night season happens to people walking with
the Lord for a long time; people who love Him with all their
heart, mind and soul; people who have surrendered their lives to
Him; people who are obedient to Him; and, people who fear Him.
Again, remember Isaiah 50:10, "Who is among you that feareth
the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that
walketh in darkness and hath no light?"
Joy Dawson, a wonderful author and Bible
teacher, says that if we live righteous lives, then there is an
inevitability that all of us will, at one time or another,
experience Godís fire (a night of faith). Therefore, the longer
we walk with the Lord, the more we can anticipate this experience
(if we donít choose to surrender everything to Him).
Great Christians are made by great trials. Pain,
sorrow and failure are what produce men of God. Men with great
dreams are often the ones who receive the greatest trials. Eternal
lessons seem to require hard places. As Scripture says, the way we
are made "perfect" (or whole or complete) is by
suffering or by barring ourselves from sin and self (Heb. 2:10; 2
Tim. 3:12). Only by uncovering and exposing our defects, can God
really heal us. First, He must take away all our external and
internal supports (other than Himself), then, He can then
strengthen our inner man and enable us to experience His fulness.
The dark night of the soul happens to people who
have already accepted the Lord; those who have already given
their lives to Him; those already filled with the Spirit;
those who have already dedicated their lives to Him; those
who have already asked for intimacy; and those who have already
been set aside for Godís purposes of ministry.
Why Does God Send the Dark Night?
There seems to be three things that God is
looking for in each of our lives: our conversion (salvation), our
conviction and our consecration (sanctification).
God wants to know the full proof of us. He wants
to know our real heart. Will we be obedient in all things
(2 Cor. 2:9)? Will we obey Him, even when we canít see Him or
feel Him? Will we hold on to His truths even though we donít
understand what He is doing?
The kind of Love that God wants from us is a
love that reaches to the point of full and total surrender.
Remember, to really love God means to totally give ourselves over
to Him. If we are discontent with what God
has allowed in our lives, itís a sure indication that we
have not completely surrendered and abandoned ourselves to Him.
Just as God had to keep testing and proving Israel, so He must
continue to humble, abase and weaken us. That way, He will see if
we love Him, and we will see our total inability to live without
The Lord wants believers who have faith like
Job, and who can say like he did, "Though You slay me, yet
will I trust You." When Job sought the Lord to know why
the bad things were happening to him, he never got an answer from
God. And itís often the same with us. God only tells us that He does
have a plan for our lives and even though we donít
understand what that plan is or how it is going to work out, we
must trust that He always has our best in view. We must learn to
rely upon Him in spite of our circumstances, in spite of our logic
and in spite of our human reason. These three things are not
sources for spiritual guidance. We must trust that only God knows
what is best for our lives and, therefore, whatever He allows into
them He will use it for our good.
Lamentations 3:33 tells us that God does not
afflict us to punish us or to be mean. He does so only to
accomplish the sanctification that will ultimately bring us
Without such a night season, however, very few
of us would ever consent to the refining process God must do in
each of our lives. Nevertheless, because He loves us so much, He
allows the "little foxes" to come so that we will come
out of ourselves and into His loving arms. The
bottom line is that we must lose possession of ourselves, in order
that we might be fully possessed by God.
As John 12:25 says, "He that loveth [hangs
on to] his life shall lose it; and he that hateth [is willing to
surrender] his life in this world shall keep it unto life
In the middle of our night season, itís so
important to remember who has sent this to us and who will
get us out of it. God is the only One who knows how to
"perfectly" annihilate us; He is the only One who can be
our guide through this time; and He is the only One who can get us
through. As Psalm 105:19-20 says, "The word of the Lord tried
him" and "the King sent and loosed him." In other
words, if God sends it, then only God can
get us out.
God is the One who has called us and, thus, He
is the only One who can perfect us and bring us into the inner
chamber where He dwells. The initiative is always in Godís
hands. No self-effort on our own part will ever work. Our oneness
with Him will never be experienced until our soul is freed of
itself and enabled to flow into God.
Goal and Purpose of the Dark Night
Godís purpose for all of His actions towards
us is that Christ might be formed in us and that we might
experience intimacy and fellowship with Him.
God wants to purge our souls from sin and self,
so that we will be open and willing to follow Him at any cost. As
we explored earlier, our will is what controls everything in our
lives. God wants us to have a will that is completely yielded and
at one with His own. One of the major purposes, then, of the
dark night of the soul is to formulate an unshakable resolve in
us, so that even if everything goes wrong in our lives and even if
we canít see or understand a thing of what God is doing, we will
still choose to cling unmoveably to God. He wants us to be
governed only by our choice of faithóa faith that says whether I
live or die, I choose to trust in You, not my own thoughts and
God wants to produce in us a trust that can
never be shaken. He is drawing us away from a life of senses and
feelings and forcing us to turn to Him in naked faith (faith
without feelings). He wants us to be able to constantly say and
mean, "Not my will, but Yours" and "Though You slay
me, yet will I trust You."
God is teaching us, by darkening us, that all
that matters in this life is knowing and loving Him. He
wants us to love Him and rely upon Him regardless of what we
desire, regardless of what our intellect is saying and regardless
of what we are feeling.
He wants us to be able to echo what Paul says in
2 Corinthians 4:8-11: "We are troubled on every side, yet
not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted,
but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always
bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the
life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we who
live are always delivered unto death for Jesusí sake, that the
life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal
By going through the dark night season and
coming out even stronger in spirit, it shows God that He alone is
important. It shows Him that we have left "all" (even
ourselves) to follow Him.
Joy Dawson made an awesome audio tape entitled
"In the Fire," in which she describes Godís seven
purposes for allowing the night seasons in our lives. These
help us tremendously in understanding Godís goals and purposes.
1) To melt hard substances and produce
2) To destroy anything in our lives that is
3) To reshape us and make us pliable for more
4) To make us more like Jesus, who is our
5) To endow us with more power. "Fire,
glory and power are always linked."
6) To experience for ourselves the
"fellowship of His sufferings," and
7) To teach us how to mentor and help others,
by learning more about ourselves and our own responses to the