050 – When God Feels Distant

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While in prison, St. John of the Cross famously called it the “Dark Night of the Soul.” After losing his wife to cancer, C.S. Lewis called it the “Mad Midnight Moments.” A.W. Tozer called it the “Ministry in the Night.” Whatever we choose to call it, there are times in life when God feels distant, our disciplines seem dull, and life becomes numb. Here, we discuss how to engage these dark days of disorientation.

Psalm 42

Mark 2:23–3:6

Hebrews 11:1

Matthew 15:21-28

John 1:1-4

Automated transcript:

Psalm 42, if you don’t have a Bible, there’s a Bible on the table and, or on your phone.

We’re going to be kind of closing out the series in the next couple of weeks on words of wisdom, looking at wisdom literature, and scripture. And this has been a really, really thought provoking series. I don’t know about you. But as I’ve been prepping, as I’ve been studying and praying, it’s made me think about things in a different light.

It’s made me think about

joy in a different light, what it means to meditate in a different light. And today, you’re going to find that this may challenge us to think a little bit differently about difficult times that we walk through. The title this morning is called when God feels distant.

When God feels distant,

I want you to listen to the song and figure out what’s repeating. And when is it being repeated? What is he really saying? Is this just some kind of old him? Or is this something deeply personal?

And as we read through this, ask yourself can identify with us?

Psalm 42, we’re actually going to read Psalm 42 and 43 because it’s all one and the, and the oldest text that we

have, so we’re going to treat it all as one

it says,

as a deer pants for flowing streams.

So pants my soul for you, oh God. My soul thirsts for God for the living God. When shall I come and appear before for God? My tears have been my food, day and night.

While they say to me,

all the day long, where is your God? These things I remember as I pour out my soul, how I would go with the throng, and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival. Why are you cast down? Oh, my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? hope in God for I shall again praise him my salvation and my God. My soul is cast down within me therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and from her mom. From mountain Azhar deep calls too deep at the roar of your waterfalls, all your breakers and your waves have gone over me. By day the Lord commands his steadfast love and at night his song is with me a prayer the God of my life. I say to God, my rock.

Why have you forgotten me?

Why do I go on morning because of the oppression of the enemy? As with a deadly wound in my bones, my adversaries taught me while they say to me all the day long Where is your God? Why are you downcast? Oh, my soul? And why are you in turmoil within me? hope in God for I shall again praise him my salvation. And my God, vindicate me, O God, and defend my calls against the ungodly people, from the deceitful and unjust man, deliver me for you are the God in whom I take refuge? Why have you rejected me? Why do I go about morning because of the oppression of the enemy? Send out your light and your truth. let them lead me let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling, then I will go to the altar of God to the god my exceeding joy. And I will pray you with a liar. Oh God, my God. Why are you cast down? Oh, my soul? And why are you in turmoil within me, hope in God for I shall again praise Him,

my salvation. And my God.

Father, we come before your word humbly. And honestly, this morning, hoping that you teach us a little something about what it means to walk faithfully with you and the deepest, darkest moments of our life. Help us tune our hearts to the presence of your spirit this morning, and help us become more like Jesus and thought

and speech and conduct.

And our conversations this morning. In Jesus name, amen.

A couple madly in love.

No, everything about each other. They know their deepest, darkest secrets of the other. Their marriage is so strong. It’s almost unrealistic. The way this couple loves each other, and the way they serve one another and challenge one another. Their marriage is so beautiful. And they both love God with all their heart and soul and mind.

But then she gets sick.

It’s cancer

ebbs and flows of good news and bad news and bad news and good news.

As they’re trying to make sense of what this means for them.

And following Jesus, why cancer Why now? Why you? At one point, they keep getting good news, only to come back with more bad news.

It’s a roller coaster.

And the husband

recalling this time says time after time when he being God seemed the most gracious. He was really preparing me for the next torture.

wife dies, no healing.

Just deep, deep grief for the husband left behind. And he’s contemplating this. He’s saying Why did nobody tell me that grief was so hard? Why didn’t nobody tell me that this is going to be so tough. He talks about he’s going through his daily routines. And then he says, meanwhile, where’s God? This is one of the most disquieting symptoms when you were happy, so happy that you have no sense of needing him. So happy that you are tempted to feel his claims upon you as an interpreter. If you remember yourself and turn to him with gratitude and praise you will be or so it feels welcomed

with open arms,

but go to him when you’re in need and desperate, when all other help is vain.

And what do you find?

A door slammed in your face and the sound of bolting double bolting on the inside. After that silence, you may as well just turn away, because the longer you wait, the more emphatic the silence will become. There are no lights in the windows, it might be an empty house. Was this house ever inhabited? It seems so once, and that seeming was as strong as this. Look in this mean? Why is he so present a commander in our time of prosperity, and so very absent

in my time of trouble?

goes on to discuss what he’s fearful of. Not that I am I think in much dangerous season seem to believe in God. The real danger is coming to the believe

such dreadful things about him. The conclusion

I dread is not so there’s no God after all, but so this is what God’s really like, deceive yourself no longer.

This man is CS Lewis,

writing about the loss of his wife

wondering where is my god?

know anything about CS Lewis,

one of the most towering Christians intellect philosophers,

theologians.

If you read that, you might think it was somebody who walked away.

In his book, a grief observed, it’s not a book, it’s a journal.

You follow him to his grieving process.

And it’s the most realistic picture that I can put language to as far as what I’ve have felt in my life and experiences, through seasons of difficulty.

Does the church that you’re familiar

with, make space for somebody who is talking like that? We might as well just give up and walk away. God has slammed the door in my face. We often don’t make space for this in the church. I say we honestly because I’ve been a part of churches that don’t. In fact, we heard a testimony several weeks ago where someone who had been through seemingly Hell and Back

had said, there were times where the church made it worse.

They put too much expectation.

And what we tend to do is we tend to say when we go through seasons like this is pray more, read your Bible more studying. Get in and join another small group, do something. Those are usually where we go but what what CS Lewis is describing in this book, is what one guy named St. JOHN of the cross while riding from him from prison, has called the dark night of the soul. Not only that a who calls at the ministry in the night, Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones calls it spiritual depression. CS Lewis,

later on this book calls it the Mad midnight moments.

Doesn’t matter what we call it, at some point in time, we all go through these seasons where we lose that sense of God’s presence, where God may even actually be intentionally silent, though not absent. We’re going to stick with the dark night of the soul because it just puts some language that I feel like is helpful. And I think that when we read Psalm 42, I think that surfaces that sense of I am searching myself, I don’t know what what the heck is going on. They’re asking where’s my god? And I’m asking me the same question is the dark nights of the soul and these spiritual depressions and days of disillusionment, they’re all over there. They can result from multiple things. But ultimately, it happens usually with the disruption of life that has disoriented our framework for how we view life and how we live into it. Something happens a divorce, a loss, a bankruptcy.

Some something has happened,

that has disrupted what we think about God and what we think about ourselves. And most people when you talk to them, and they say, I walked away from God, a lot of times what you find is that they walked away, they were in the dark night of the soul, and had no place to wrestle, therefore they walk away. But the dark night of the soul, and this disorientation, there’s two powers at work, you have the power of the enemy, and you know the power of God. And so what happens a lot of times in this is one or the other typically wins and draws the individual towards the other. Mother Teresa 60 years she spent in the dark night

of the soul, wondering

about God, Mother Teresa, listen to what she says.

Such a deep longing for God and repulsed, empty, no faith, no love No zeal. Saving souls has no attraction. Heaven means nothing. Pray for me, please, that I keep smiling at him in spite of everything. Mother Teresa, Nobel Peace Prize winning missionary of our age. Again, we typically respond, pray harder, read your Bible more join the small group. But the problem often is, is that these types of things, they’re not something that you do to get in. Yes, there are times where we sin, and that can propel us into the seasons, by talks about sin being a pollution that keeps us from seeing and hearing God and Isaiah 59. But sometimes things just happen, right? You didn’t do anything. Something was done to you.

Life happens?

What do you do?

See the dark night of the soul? What happens here

is God and this is what’s hard to swallow.

Because it’s not something we

did to get into. It’s not something that we can muster up the energy or effort to do to get out of you see, it’s something that God God’s intentionally silent. But it’s to shape us. It’s to draw us closer. You say why isn’t God speaking? Why is it God speaking? We can go into another sermon about that. But for the dark night of the soul, what’s happening when we feel most empty, most disillusion and we still feel like we can’t hear God. Oftentimes, God’s silence is meant to shape us. You see, this dark night of the soul is a collision of mourning and meaning, Who is God? Who am I? What’s happening

here?

What’s going on? Who am I? This is what I believe the real CS Lewis goes on later in the book to say that he’s learning that if his house this house, that if his house falls apart with one event,

then it was really just a house of cards.

And he said he’s had to build that House of Cards over and over and over. That’s what this song I think is surfacing disorientation and not knowing what to do with it that sense of where is God God feels distant in verses one and two. Let’s start moving through this as as as a deer pants for the flowing stream. So pants my soul for you, this sounds sweet and nice. This is not this type of this is not a sweet thing.

This is not

this is not other songs where it says, God my soul longs for

you.

It’s saying that but it’s from a different vantage point. You see other songs, you see this where they say my soul longs for you I’m thirsty for you. But it’s in like a lord develop me spiritually draw me closer. This is saying I can’t survive I need you and I cannot find you. This is not just about spiritual development for this song this this is about survival. He’s saying as a dear MC he doesn’t say sheep we talked about sheep out you know they’re not the brightest thing in the in God’s creation. He says a dear dear are not that stupid. They know where to go to find water. In this thing as a deer looks for this water I know where the place where it was supposed to be found. He can’t find it. I’m coming before God and I’m coming up empty. My prayer this morning as we move through this is that I can expose you to real authentic Christianity. The things that people don’t tell you about when you come to faith. There are seasons where you experience silence.

And it’s tough.

I wish somebody would have told me CS Lewis wish somebody would have told him where? Where r us what he’s asking. And at the end of verse two, he asked this question, When shall I come and appear before God shrimper long man, he’s a scholar on the book of songs. He says this with this dear, searching for water. He says the simile is fueled by a palpable feeling of divine absence in the midst of attack by others. In other words, the image is not the sentiment of a person who has a satisfying relationship with God that he wants to go deeper, but rather, it is an expression of exasperated by someone who feels abandoned by God. His question at the end of the verse of the first two verses implies that Enough is enough. It’s high time.

It’s hard time

that God make his presence known to him again.

Have you ever felt that way?

This is a survival sort of thirst.

And in verse three, he says, My tears have been my food day and night. You see, he’s looking for flowing streams of water, but the only water he’s finding or the tears that are flowing from his eyes, sitting in puddles of his own tears, he’s not even eating. Tears, or the only thing he’s finds. He is not only thirsty in his soul, but he’s hungry, and he cannot even eat physically. And it’s poor to know that the soul in here in this text, this is not mean like our disembodied spirit or anything like this. This word soul just means my entire being heart, soul, mind and strength. My body is involved here. That’s what it means. That’s what this word means. It’s not just a spirit, it is every part of who you are. It’s me.

That’s what he’s saying. Excuse me.

So the people mock him.

Where is your God? This is the default response of news headlines when things that are awful happened, where’s God? Where’s God? Whereas god, they’re looking at a situation going, man, if your God is so good, why are you dealing with this? Your God is so good. Why is that happening? So this is a spin question. What they’re implying is that you must have done something wrong number one, or number two, your God is not real at all. And that represents a lot of what we see in American Christianity that if we see somebody who was down on times, we just assume that they did something to get there. How many homeless people have you passed and made pass a judgment on their situation? thinking you know what happened? They just need to get a job. They just need to do this. They just need do that? Do we look them in the eyes? Give them the dignity of humanity? Or do we prejudge the situation and say you can stand get a job? We do this, we just do this across the board. That’s and that’s one example. I do this. I got fed up with myself one day, and I pulled over and talk to a homeless guy because I had to just get over my own criticism. I pulled over so can you share with me your story, I got him a cup of coffee, and we just talked. And it broke my heart. They can’t keep a job because he was bipolar. He was a vet who was no longer being taken care of. And he had a broken hand that he couldn’t afford to get fixed. How dare

I look at him and say, Where is your God?

What did you do?

Sometimes things are done to us.

This is existed forever though. In the Gospel

of john, they look at a blind man, the disciples followers of Jesus and say who sinned? This man was born blind. And Jesus has a correction forum says that’s not the case. Where is your God? It’s interesting.

Why is it

when tragedy and difficulty happens that the inner soul of all of humanity wants to know where is God? Why is it that secular headlines read? Where is God? There’s something wired within us that wonders? Where is this originating from and who’s doing something about it?

Our soul pants for that.

Verse four,

he begins to talk about what he remembers. And then we get a little information about this guy. You see, basically the sun that says that that this was a son of Cora writing and in Chronicles, we learned that these guys are worship leaders. These are worship leaders, leading people in song helping people connect to God. And something has happened in his life that’s keeping him from doing that. It seems like he’s been traveling from transport from the south to the north, perhaps in exile.

And

he can’t do what he felt like he was called to do. He’s had a disruption of his identity of his purpose of his meaning. He has now entered the dark night of the soul who was God, where is God? Who am I? Where am I?

He’s wrestling.

This worship leader is not able to worship in the way that he thought he once was. And there was a time in my life where this was my dark night, more. One of my first times where I felt like completely open and vulnerable and shattered, was when Kristen I first got married. And I had an addiction to ministry, I had an addiction to being up at the church, I had an addiction to being on stage. I was working for a large church, getting to play music with famous people getting getting to do really cool things with awesome people that that you hear on the radio and stuff. And I was really excited. But I idolized it. And it almost bankrupted my first month, my marriage in my first year.

And so Christie said, It’s either me or this ministry, because you’re not ever here. We were going through some stuff, which I’ll tell you about in a minute. But I ended up having to get out of ministry and see a counselor. And she said, You have to get out of ministry, you just have to that’s what you have to do right now. That was a moment where everything about who I was, was laid bare. And it had been culminating for years. Up until that point. I didn’t know who I was, I didn’t know what I was going to be doing. I felt I found that I found my identity in ministry, in the work of God, but not God.

I had a disruption.

Now wonder who I was and who was God.

I can identify with verse four. He used to lead he had these mountaintop moments, you see this is what happens is we have these mountaintop moments in faith. And we expect that to be the norm. And when it’s not the normally bell. This is predominant in the south. I can’t tell you how many young people that I’ve mentored or worked with, over the years that they have this faith experience. They have this mountain high moment at a conference and they get out of the conference. And then it’s kind of like bland, the honeymoon stage is over. So they live on the hype of church conferences. They go to the con conference to the next one conference to the next, hoping for that sense of revitalization. When they realize at some point in time, they’re going to have to realize that it’s not about an external situation. It’s the interior issue. We can’t live on mountaintop moments. The disciples had one in their three years of ministry. Most of them died for their faith. St. JOHN of the cross wrote about the dark night of the soul from prison, Paul wrote his most powerful literature from prison. It seems to be the case that the dark night of the soul could almost be something that God is intentionally being silent to us to shape us

to help us

wrestle with who we are and we really believe

in verse five he’s asked says he asks his soul Why are you so cast down more literally, it’s why are you so despaired? He doesn’t understand the condition of his soul. He can understand why he’s going through what he’s going through. He’s being honest with himself. He’s searching himself is there anything within me that’s leading me to do this as leading me into this place? He’s being completely honest. He goes YR he’s talking to himself. Once one a one pastor called this sanctified soliloquy means it’s a holy way of self talk of self reflection. He’s trying to figure it out. And in verses six through seven,

he finds out

that we already find out that the location of where he is is the complete opposite of where he wants to be. There’s an image here in verses six and seven. And when it says the deep calls too deep at the roar of your waterfalls, I’ve heard that phrase in a worship song like an upbeat worship song deep calls too deep. This is anguish this isn’t celebration, this is lament, not joy. Deep calls too deep. What this what this implies is that you’re in such a season where you feel like the dark days are conspiring against you. You have one deep area of life talking to another deep area of life, saying, Let’s get them. Right, that’s what that feels like. And another way of saying this in America is when it rains it pours. But you know, it also happens when it rains, things grow.

When it rains, it pours. Well, what is it producing weeds or fruitfulness?

Deep calls too deep.

This world will conspire against our souls.

But there’s something interesting here

is that he calls this sort of thing God’s ways God’s is God. Bringing this man to the end of himself so that he finds out who he really is. We don’t like to think about God is somebody who leads us into such places. But this is not necessarily the world. This could be God leading us to a place where we come to the end of ourselves. And we have to grab a hold on to him, or we have to make a decision to walk away.

When it rains, it pours weeds

or fruit bearing tree, what’s being grown out of the pouring rain. Notice that the soul thirsts not for a new situation also,

but for God’s presence in the situation that he is in.

I long for you Oh God, he doesn’t say I long to be happy not long for

you. Oh god.

That whole element there verses one through seven. That’s what we would call the thirst for God. But what does it mean to be to feel like we’re forgotten by God and verse eight. He said says, By day the Lord commands his steadfast love and at night his song is with me. So for a brief moment, he recalls this covenant, a love of God. That’s what the steadfast love means. God’s relational love. It’s a fleeting but real but real moment of faith, which is so true and dark nights. You have these moments where you feel deeply appreciated, deeply loved by God. And the next minute you feel like where’d it go?

Where did it go?

He’s being honest about where he is. Man. God’s love is great. But then verse nine, listen to this. I say to God, my rock, you expect something powerful? No. He says, Why have you forgotten me? A Song of the Lord that He sings that night apparently isn’t enough to lead him to survival he feels.

And then verse 10.

As with deadly wound in my bones, my adversaries taught me while they say all day long to me, where is your God? Again? He’s asking the same question. The darkness seems to thicken. You see this song, Psalm 42. Some 43 are paired together with that refrain with this refrain of that we find

in verse 11.

Why are you cast down on my soul? And why are you in turmoil within me hoping God for I shall again praise him my salvation, my God, three times in Psalm 4243, it happens. And it seems to be a progression. This one,

the darkness has only thickened.

He’s got to say it again to himself.

While on these dark nights and days of disorientation, it feels like God is forgetting us, but really God is forming us.

That’s the truth.

Again, what is meant what God means by silences to shape us? Is this a vision of Christianity that you were brought up with, that you were told about? So that’s what it means to be this forgotten by God? Or I feel like you have forgotten me.

If we’re being honest, have you ever felt that way?

you forgotten me.

But no, he says, I will hope and God, I will hope and God. I thirst for God. I feel forgotten by God, but I will hope and God. You see the tension. You see the paradox?

One thing that this tells us immediately is that we can’t rely on our

feelings about God to determine our position before God. I’m in the charismatic stream of thought when it comes to theology, but that’s one rebuke against charismatics is when people go through this. So often, it’s well, you just need to encounter God’s excellent spirit and begin to do this or do that and put forth all these experiential elements. Experiencing God is important. It’s so important, and I’m, I’m pro that okay.

But, but

there’s some times

where your feelings are the most deadly thing.

In your walk with Jesus.

Jeremiah 17, nine, this isn’t on the screen. But it says, Our hearts are deceitful above and beyond all things, who can comprehend it but God? We cannot base our feelings about God and ourselves as a measure for our position, and condition before God Himself. That’s the beauty of God is regardless of what we feel about him, he is faithful.

I will hoping god

that’s how 42 ends and then 43 verses one through five or about God, take me back. or

move me forward.

Want to talk a little bit about a season where I experienced

this dark night of the soul?

Our first year of marriage? This is my family, by the way.

looks exactly like us, right? Yeah. You got the hipster shirt. You got Maggie wearing pink coves, little red hair, Christie’s stylish dress, you know, looks exactly like us. So if you’ve been to our house, you’ve seen this in our living room. This is one of our main pictures. And when we got married, everyone talks about the honeymoon stage. We didn’t really have much of one. By the end of our first year we were almost ready to call it quits. And the only reason we probably didn’t call it quits is because we both were Christians. And we didn’t want that on us. Like we don’t want to be the people. I mean, if we’re being honest, Christy will tell you the same thing. God was moving in her heart to speak to me about getting out of ministry because our marriage wasn’t well God was at work, always. Even though we weren’t consulting him. He was still at work. But a lot of what caused that tension was our first miscarriage.

Our first year of marriage,

we have moved away from everybody that we knew to Austin, I busy myself with work in ministry and and then we ended up having a getting pregnant, not ready for it. And then you know how that goes. If you’ve ever had a miscarriage you, you’re not ready for it. You’re like, Can I do this? And by day three, you’re like, let’s do this. You know, you kind of get that. Okay, it’s real. Let’s do it.

And then we miscarry.

And so how did I handle that? Why deepened and work? I’d ignored reality. I ignored emotion because as a part of this church, that was all like, you know, God is good. God is good. So I stuffed my feelings are was basically

I was basically

superficial in my faith, not saying what I really feel,

and acting in a way that I didn’t feel.

So this created some tension. And as I told you, a minute ago, Christie approached me and said, We need to think through this and I got out of ministry. Again, that was the moment where things really began to shift for me personally. And so when I stepped out of ministry, I remember one day we were driving down the road heading to this church that I had just kind of stepped out of, and the Lord I felt like Lord told me, you need to go to the keep driving. So Chris, and I kept driving, we found a church on this road on the side of the road called Austin revival church. And we’d never seen this church before is a rather big church, but we pulled in, we went in, we were supposed to go to the other church that day, we didn’t we just walked in.

And I remember the feeling for me.

When I walked in the door, and I shook the hand of one man, his name is tj. I knew that minute that that’s where God was going to heal us. We sat through the sermon, afterwards reconnected with this guy, tj. And to this day, he’s an important vital role in my in my life. We don’t talk nearly as often as we used to, but I just got done with a couple last week, and we just caught up and we talked and, man, he she, he really did something in my life. God use this church to to heal Christina’s marriage. put us in a good sense of community that was stable. We learned to be vulnerable and honest and lead with limps is what my mentor told me. You’ve been broken act like it lead like it. And so I spent some time out of ministry healing with my wife, but it was also during that time where things didn’t improve our situation. We we’ve been going to the church Christie was pregnant with Cove already worried about the first miscarriage Will she miscarry and and so it just began the second trimester and Christie found a spot on her leg. And, or had been there for a while, but a friend said you ought to really go get that checked out. And so we go get it checked out and it’s this massive spot of melanoma. And the news, it doesn’t matter how serious or not serious it is, the news that you have cancer is devastating. It’s scary, it’s frightening. And we didn’t we were just kind of disorienting for us and then we ended up having this wind up having this thing where Okay, she had to have surgery, right, like pretty quickly. And so within a couple weeks, we decided to go to the surgery and the surgery post somewhat of a rest of the to the baby to Cove because of the anesthesia and and all this other type of stuff was going on and we just I was getting disoriented. I felt like I was getting disoriented again. But something happened is she went through this she went through the surgery things were fine. Two weeks later found out that Cove had a had a cranial facial issue called cleft lip and palate. You know, it’s not the worst thing in the world. But as a young parents have no idea what they’re doing. It’s scary. He had no hard palate, he had no soft palate. He had no nasal passage. He was born with kind of a hole in the center of his in his face there. And so immediately after birth, we had to begin fatten them up for surgery and by the time we have the surgery like a bulldog just kind of Chunky Monkey. And we began to go through the surgery all this is happening while I’m out of ministry and we’re at this church. We noticed something though during that time. And it was a lot Oh man, it was a lot Christy had to stop working things got tough. It wasn’t definitely wasn’t easy. There were times where I was like ready to throw in the towel. But what we noticed was through in that season, rather than getting distant Christina I became closer.

Because our souls were becoming were getting healed.

The dark night of the soul was being intentionally cultivated. I didn’t know that’s what I was in until afterwards. So things things ended up working out there. We ended up growing closer. We were healthy God put us back in ministry now we’re in Georgia. And we have two kids now at this point coven Maggie, and things are just going well. And then we were like, this is just great. Life’s Good. Good ministry. Good things and, and then we get a pregnancy test for Christmas. I’m pregnant again. I like whoa. Okay. So we go to the doctor, the cancer your heartbeat yet, so we come back the week later. Still don’t see a heartbeat to come back in a couple days. And they took some blood levels and they said you’re your miscarrying and we need to check on you next week. So we got that news. And they said you’re probably not going to see a heartbeat.

So okay.

So you got to think through that and process and

and then we get back to the doctor and I remember specifically had a prayer that morning at our church specifically for Christie God do something miraculous God do something miraculous. We get in there, and they begin to search and the lady was dumbfounded.

She was like, hold on a second. I don’t know.

Get the doctor. Doctor comes in.

There’s a heartbeat. That heartbeat was supposed to be done a week ago. was a heartbeat. So naturally, what do we do? Praise God. Yes. Thank you. Thank you for that miracle of life that heartbeat where there’s not supposed to be a heartbeat god you’re so good.

You’re so good.

Two days later as a Friday I’m walking around the church office and it’s just me my pastor and Christy up the office this day. And I couldn’t find Christy anywhere.

And then I hear it from the bathroom.

The cry

of pain.

I knew what it was.

I remember walking to the bathroom in my flesh saying What are you doing? What do you think you’re doing? God

opened up the girls bathroom. She’s sitting on the floor.

And we knew what happened. The supposedly miracle of life

has been taken is gone.

Something happened during that

Christy had said that in her soul and in her spirit she wasn’t cursing God but she was singing you’re a good good father.

You are good. Good father.

Good closer through that stronger through that. You see it’s not about the dark night of the soul as much as it is what you do or don’t do and the dark night of the soul let’s fast forward to a couple months back you guys have know Christie’s had a hard year many of you know that she lost her mom back in last March cancer that’s been real tough.

And so right when we felt like things were kind of progressing

is December early December we found out we got we got pregnant and we were honestly we’re excited and we’re like cool. All right, let’s do this. Number three

and so

we we went looked took the blood tests a your levels aren’t good. We got to start giving you medication like we’re going to get ahead of it this time. Christie got the call you know your blood levels are not good and you start taking this medicine and in my spirit in my flesh I was RMB externally I’m like God’s got it God’s got it. God’s got it. You know, it’s going to be awesome. I remember in the car though heading from heading down jackrabbits of town

and country to pick up the prescription.

I yelled at God.

What are you doing Kansas? Just be simple.

Can’t you just give us this

dinner with some friends is a relaxing night. got home.

The next morning she miscarried.

In an already what was already an ugly, intense season of life.

And we mourn.

Not well. I didn’t mourn well at first.

I refuse to not be here on a Sunday.

Daniel Fred, Doug, it just don’t don’t be here this Sunday. As I got it. I got it. I got it.

I came I taught.

next couple of days were in meetings. I was

sad. I heard myself biting Fred’s head off in a meeting. Just being snappy and aggressive. And I realized that wasn’t doing well.

And so I took time off.

took some time off that week. But you know, it’s funny again. That just a couple of months ago. Christie, I know is your anniversary. Yeah. She said, all the crap we’ve been there. We’re never more close. And we’ve been before than we are now.

It’s like, how do we get here?

How do we get here, my friends. When we had our second miscarriage. Our small group painted this had this picture painted for us. And this represents each miscarriage that we had. And there’s obviously been a third. And some of you guys have been through that some of you guys have been through far worse stuff. It was hard. And

and what mattered

during this time, was where was our hope in the first year of marriage, our hope was not in God.

In December, our hope was in God.

This is a journey of ongoing difficulties, the the dark nights of the soul, they come they go, they can be days, they can be weeks, they could be months, it doesn’t matter. They can come repetition. So you just don’t know. So what do we do? The Solomon says I will hope in God.

He says send your light.

That’s what he’s asking. Send your light, send your truth. Is he saying help me do it. Help me do this. Help me do that. Now he’s saying you have to do it because I can. He says I will hope you see hope in the midst of the dark night of the soul is very practical. It’s very practical. Hope is displayed by simply hanging on.

hanging on.

For things I want you to just kind of contemplate

hoping God.

And hanging on looks like this. It’s being restful, and not hurried.

Being restful and not hurried.

Our natural default when we go through things is to fight our way out of it. But we have to remember God’s siloed is meant to shape us

he’s wanting us to slow down

our natural sponsors, what can I do? What can I What can I do? What can I do? What can I do know what has to be done for you.

The rest will not hurry. The second thing

is be real, not superficial. Be real, not superficial, superficial reality and difficult days.

Kills spiritual growth.

I met with somebody two weeks ago.

I met with somebody two weeks ago. And

they said they’re in a dark, they’re in a dark night of the soul basically. And he says I feel weak. I feel weak. And I want you to know the real me. I want you to know the real me. This is not me. I’m better than this. I’m this. And I told him I said man, if I don’t know you and your weaknesses, I don’t know you at all. In order to truly know somebody you have to know their weaknesses. Otherwise it will be superficial and fake strength. JOHN Warburg says this, and I absolutely love this. JOHN Warburg says, what do we do in the dark night, we do nothing we wait. We remember that we are not God. We hold on. We ask for help. We do less we resigned from things we rest the more we stop going to church, we ask somebody else to pray because we can’t. We let go of our need to hurry through it. You can’t run in the dark.

We stopped going to church.

I will tell you the first to tell you there are times when you do not need to be here. We put this sense of guilt on people who don’t show up to church on Sunday. When really what they need is just some intense time with Jesus alone. You come into a church especially in and when you’re kind of in a small group like this. People talk to you they say things that they mean well and it doesn’t sit well and turn experience on this particular Sunday ends up being a nightmare. When you go home. You’re more exhausted than you were when you came. There are times like john Warburg says there are times when we don’t need to be at church

that can turn into an excuse and it shouldn’t.

The regular rhythm should be that you are involved in the church community. But I’ll be the first to tell you at this church. There are times when you need to stay home, and you need to rest when you’re in the dark night of the soul.

And these are things unfortunately that I learned because I didn’t do them.

This is a time of self emptying and allowing God to strip you away of what is stunting your spiritual growth. The Dark Knight is about God pulling out your ego and filling you with himself. How do I grieve? Then how do I mourn? How do I do this? Well, Philip Yancey, he says this this is how you do it. You grieve freely cry out when you need help. Extra except that some people will say insensitive things. Don’t shut out your spouse and family. Take care of yourself and breathe in and breathe out. Don’t overthink the grieving process. Don’t overthink the morning, don’t overthink the dark night of the soul. Again, our tendency is to do do do but we have to realize that it’s God doing something to us and in us. Third thing be with others. Don’t be withering alone. We have to be with others. The idea of solo spirituality is foreign to Scripture. This came out of the context of a community and it means more to me than anything else in our house right now. For thing, be redemptive. Don’t walk away, be redemptive. Don’t walk away know that God is working through you. Don’t walk away. My friends that walk away. They still have to wrestle with the same question. Why is this happening? No one is off the hook.

Everyone still has to face the question.

Don’t walk away. And trust in Jesus and Matthew 21 through 28. We’re not going to read it because we’re I’m out of time here. But there’s a story where this woman comes to Jesus actually, we can make some time for Jesus right? You go with that? Okay.

Listen to this. This is going to be a an illustration in a

parable for us, I guess. It says and Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre of Tiree and sit on. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying. Have mercy on me, O Lord, son of David, my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon. He did not answer her a word. The King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Prince of Peace, was silent.

When she asked for help,

and his disciples came and begged him saying, send her away, she’s crying out after us. He answered to her, I was only sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. But she came back and knelt before him saying, Lord help me. And he answered, It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs. She said, Yes, Lord, even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the Masters table. Then Jesus answered her, oh, woman, great is your faith and be done for you as you desire and her daughter was healed? What’s happening here? We don’t have a time to get into the culture, but know this. She came to Jesus for help. He was silent. His silence was meant to shape the rest of that conversation. What is she going to do with God in the silence? She comes back and says,

help me.

And then Jesus says, I came for Israel right now. You’re you’re going to come later. There’s some theology that we can’t talk

about later. Don’t have time to do right now. But

but it says, I’m not here for you right now. And she does something remarkable though. She says, but even the dogs get the crumbs that fall from the table. Give me something as what she’s saying, Give me something. And then Jesus says, How great is your faith?

Jesus the whole time had planned on

healing her purse or daughter. But he started with silence.

He started with silence.

Silence is meant to shape us the silence of God is meant to shape us. And what we see here the metaphor way to take away is God heals those who hang on. Your Dark Knight will be redeemed. If you hang on.

Come back to Jesus and say Lord, help me

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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