There are times when the cloud doesn't lift. When in spite of all your spiritual and earthly efforts, darkness ensues, pursuing your soul. Maybe in these times we blame our Maker. Or maybe, by His grace we remain steadfast; only to see another wave crash violently against our shores when we thought it would dissipate.
This was the case with Paul. Earnestly desiring to meet with the believers in both Rome and Spain, he sets out to reach them, yet calamity pursues his soul. Shipwreck upon shipwreck wrought with mental and emotional discouragement, he finally finds himself in Rome. Yet, it certainly isn't on the terms he had imagined. He was imprisoned. Darkness pursued his soul in spite of his pursuit of God.
Joseph certainly had a similar story. Finding himself as the favourite child and naturally the most despised sibling, he received dreams from the Lord prophesying his exaltation. When he shared this with his brothers it resulted in a chain of events in which darkness bore down on him. Sold into slavery by his family, wrongfully accused and imprisoned, darkness remained for years until God redeemed him.
Living in a world broken with sin and evil, it likely comes as no surprise to any of us that dark nights of the soul will visit us, and in some cases get much worse before light breaks through. Maybe its disease. Maybe its financial ruin. Maybe its relational breakdown. Maybe you face the fury of the flames of evil right now as you read this.
If not, be alert for all of us are on the warpath of sin and death, and these flames will visit us. I hope to provide you with three solid truths to stand on both before during and after the storm.
Fixed on the Rock
You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is fixed on you. Trust in the Lord forever, the Lord God is an everlasting rock. This promise has been a fortress for me over the years.
As I've journeyed through many bouts of depression, the Spirit has used this truth to remind me that sometimes peace rests simply in turning our minds towards our Maker. In your despair and anxiety, I encourage you to practice turning your thoughts to the beauty and security of God and find peace.
One of the many reasons God became one of us was to assure us that he has felt what we feel. He knows that it's scary to be us! That we are frail and torn. Tossed about in the endless fray of sin and death. And he does not condemn when this tossing causes doubt in our hearts.
For he never came to condemn, but to immerse himself in the dirt so that we might one day be overwhelmed by his glory in us. (John chapter 3:verse 17; 2 Corinthians chapter 5 verse 21)
Made for Glory
Finally, we are made for glory. I was reading this week from 'The Weight of Glory' by CS Lewis. In it, Lewis draws out an important truth that can help us endure the storm.
When Christ is our Lord we are destined for glory. Perhaps Lewis can sum it up best
"To please God... to be a real ingredient in the divine happiness... to be loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in his work or a father in a son- it seems impossible, a weight or burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain. But so it is."
When the weight of the storm bears down on your soul, cling to these truths, these graces. And know, in the end you will be a beauty that brings pleasure to God himself.
Dan Peterson lives near Chicago, Illinois, USA. He enjoys discovering old books, new places, and good coffees. His dream is to summit a mountain on every continent and have a pet pygmy marmoset.
Dan Peterson's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/dan-peterson.html