The way we respond to the difficult
times in our life determines our whole spiritual walk. Whether
we advance, withdraw or simply stay where we are (which is actually
impossible) will determine our degree of experiential union with God.
The more passive and peaceful we remain during our night season, the
quicker we will advance toward God.
This is why itís critical that we endure, as
patiently as we can, all that God allows into our lives. Some of us will
never advance beyond this stage, because we will grow impatient
and seek a means by which we can escape. This is detrimental to our
walk! Rather, we must cooperate fully with God by bearing all that He
We must stand still, rest in His promises, stop asking
why, cease doubting, cease fighting, guard against discouragement, stop
blaming others, and, finally, put on the whole armor of God and begin to
praise Him. Letís explore each of these suggested steps in detail.
One of the first things we must do in our
crisis is to stand still. We must not move. We must stop all
activity and cease striving.
Remember Isaiah 50:10-11:
Who is among you that feareth the Lord,
that obeyeth the voice of His servant, that walketh in darkness, and
hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord,
and stay upon his God. Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that
compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire,
and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand;
ye shall lie down in sorrow.
So often in our night seasons, because we get
impatient for God to "do" something, we begin to "light
our own fires." We try to find our own way out of the
trial. And thatís when the trouble really begins. When we resist what
God is doing and begin to work on our own way out, thatís when
we find ourselves in an even bigger mess. The more we resist what God is
doing by searching out our own ways, the more agony we will cause
ourselves, the sharper our suffering becomes, and the longer we will
prolong our trial.
We must stand still and wait for God to part the
waters. We must stay quiet before God and keep
walking in the direction in which we were going when our troubles first
began. Nothing has changed between God and us except, perhaps, our
perception of that relationship.
This kind of standing still is not sheer
passivity, which so many of the mystics tell us is essential. What we
are doing here is really the most active thing we can possibly do. We
are choosing, by faith, to constantly remain quiet and cooperate with
God, and this takes an enormous effort on our part. Our natural
inclination is to shove, fight, push, scream and yell. Standing still
and yielding our members to God is the opposite of what we want
to do emotionally and, thus, requires a constant and an active faith
on our part.
One of the ways we can most effectively stand still
and surrender ourselves to God is to take every thought captive, confess
and repent of it, give it to God and, then, replace it with the truth of
Going through these steps every time we are confronted
with a hurtful remark, painful situation, pride, fear, doubt, insecurity
or whatever "is not of faith," is the only way we can
stay open and cleansed vessels so God can continue to form Christ in us
and implement intimacy with Him.
Keeping a journal of all that God does will help keep
us accountable. By writing down all that we "feel" and dealing
with it, sin and self will not be able to
accumulate. In other words, we wonít be able to go on to the issues of
tomorrow if we havenít first "dealt with" all the issues of
today. This will help us "keep very short lists."
...Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead
indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our
Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should
obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as
instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto
God... and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God." (Romans
Rest and Hope in His Promises
At this point, itís very important to get our eyes
off the "monster," and simply rest and hope in Godís
The way we lay hold of His promises is by
making faith choices and knowing that He will align our feelings with
our choices in His timing and way. Other practical things we can do are:
Cry out to Him; quote Scriptures out loud to Him ("You said
here..."); and then, listen for His answers in His Word. All we can
ask is that He keep His promises.
We must not move out of the Spirit to do our own
works. Struggling or becoming agitated just makes everything worse. God
has not changed, even though He seems to have covered Himself in
We must remain pliable, be attentive to God, with no
"self-effort" on our part at all. Wait in peace and patience
and faithfulness until God shows us what to do. Endure without
complaint. If we simply trust and believe in the Name of Jesus and His
Word, He promises to "make darkness light before [us]" and
"crooked things straight." (Isaiah 42:16)
God will not lift the trial until
He has completed the work in us that He knows must be done. Since He is
the One who put us in this fire to begin with, He must be the One
to take us out. There is nothing we can do to speed things up, except to
stand still, rest and hope in His promises. He will get us out of the
fire in His timing and in His way. We simply must trust Him and let Him
Stop Asking Why
Itís also imperative during this time, to stop
asking "why?" Stop constantly examining yourself and
thinking, "If only I had done this... or that." Submit
yourself to the confusion. Accept what is happening. Stay still for His
Spirit to resolve it for you. Love God without the need to see
or understand why.
Remember who God is and what He has done for you in
the past. Remember His character. Remember your reason cannot help you
comprehend God. Itís only by Love that we can reach Him, not by our
understanding. So, by faith, we must choose to love Him and to totally
give ourselves over to Him, without sight or feelings.
What we must try to understand is not what God
is doing, but what God expects from us. The
only way we can overcome our natural senses is by allowing Him to do all
He needs to do while we are in the dark. As we focus all our attention
on Christ in the darkness, our soulish life supply will eventually be
cut off, and our own natural thoughts and emotions will become
Whenever a self-reflective thought comes, instantly
reject it. Donít give way to imagination or reflection. Try to keep
clearness of mind and purity of heart at all times. Donít allow
negative thoughts to go unchecked to the point where you again dwell on
them. Recognize these kinds of negative thoughts, and immediately choose
to give them to God. Then get up and, by faith, do as God asks.
Everything we dwell upon (other than God) during this time will become
an obstacle to our experiential union with Him. If our mind is cluttered
with other things, there will be no room for God.
Expect to get tired of the unrelenting struggle and
battle. However, as we persevere weíll begin to have the encouragement
we need. As we silently "abide" in the darkness, we will begin
to see and experience God changing our motivations and healing our
lives. Thus, the confidence that He is still working and that He still
loves us, will return.
Peace comes only when we accept what we cannot
understand and are no longer troubled by it.
Peace comes when we leave everything up to God.
(continued next month)