Thursday, October 11, 2012

31 Days of Fearless: Believe in the Silence

In the 16th century, there was a Catholic mystic named St. John of the Cross that wrote a poem describing the "dark night of the soul." His poem narrated the journey of a soul from its bodily home on Earth (where there was suffering, pain, and hardships) to union with God. The main idea of the poem is that sometimes there are "dark nights" on our Christian journey as we seek Christian maturity. Many Christians have had their "dark night" on their Christian journey. One of the most notable that we discuss today is Mother Teresa. Mother Teresa is a woman that many people hold in an extremely high spiritual regard. Sometimes we like to think that she was one of those "perfect" people. But, according to letters, even she went through periods of "dark nights of the soul" from 1948 until her death in 1997.

The phrase "dark night of the soul" tends to refer to an experience when God removes the sense of his presence from a believers life. Sometimes, it feels like God isn't there. It feels like we've been abandoned in the night, in the darkness. A Christian may feel that God no longer exists. This isn't a consequence of sin or a punishment for an action- it's just something that happens without much explanation. One theologian describes the process as God "removing the training wheels" so that we can become more mature and not have our faith just based on feeling. 

Something that I've learned is that feelings aren't necessarily fact. It may feel like right now God isn't with you. You might not be able to feel his presence. But, living fear{less} means pushing through these "dark nights of the soul" and growing to have a deeper faith that isn't based solely on how we feel. We may feel like God isn't all that fair. That doesn't mean that it's true. We may feel like God doesn't love us anymore- that's definitely not true! Feelings don't equal fact. Remember that. Cling to that. Living fear{less} means believing in God even when it's silent. Even when you can't hear his voice. Even when the sun isn't shining. Living fear{less} is persevering through these times, so that in the end we can stand and say the words from 2 Timothy 4:7, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." Believe in the silence.

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