Acorns From Oakes

Seeing With Our Father's Eyes

Dark Night Of The Soul

It remains a mystery to me how one person seems to stroll through life as through a beautiful sunlit meadow on a warm Summer’s day while another’s life seems nearly all Winter with its cold, dark barrenness. One thing I know…everyone does not get the same breaks in life. It’s what we do with what we have that is so important really.

I’ve told you about my brother’s recent death. I’ve staggered under my feelings of loss. Gracious Father God has sustained my faith…given me strength equal to each day’s tasks…provided comfort as I have wept in quiet, alone times…offered courage in the face of approaching fears. He has done this Himself…by remaining with me…not leaving me alone. He has done this through His reliable and powerful Word. He has done this through my blessed family. And He has done this through your faithful ministry towards me in your concern, your kind words, your prayers and, even, your tears. Do you begin to know what this means to me? I thank you. I praise Him. And I praise Him for gifting me with such caring people.

My brother wanted to love God and to feel God’s love for him. But he didn’t get the direction or the result he was looking for in this life. It’s not that he didn’t seek it…it’s that he could’t receive it. It’s not that it wasn’t available…it’s that he couldn’t get a firm grasp of it…couldn’t get it worked out in his own mind and heart in a way that enabled him to hang on to this rich truth so that he could really rely on it. But my, how he wanted it.

If my brother’s faith was feeble, it was nevertheless real. And, it just may be, that his faith was much stronger than any of us realized. Which do you think requires more faith…to serve God with a heart full of peace, joy and gratitude, and with strong spiritual relationships that support you so well along the way…or to be unable to say a final farewell to faith even though your heart aches with pain and doubt and insecurities.

Which takes more faith…to teach a lost sinner about Christ and get to celebrate his/her homecoming in baptism (which is a truly wondrous thing)…or to refuse to take your own life when, for you, there seems no light at all at the end of the tunnel…when pain is your constant companion after many years of seeking medical help…and when there’s no beloved  waiting at home to welcome you and support you in your long and difficult struggle.

What do you think? Where’s the real faith? One thing I know…there’s One…and only OneWho’s capable of seeing the whole of our lives…not only the deeds we do but the motives that drive us…not only our sins and failures, but how long we struggled to do right before we gave in…not only what we didn’t get done but what we would have done if we could have. For my part, I will trust to the One Righteous Judge.

In the days ahead, my remaining sister, Gail, and my brother, Allen, and I will be walking across the sands of time and we will at times stoop to pick up some grains of memories and another cold wave of grief will sweep over us and send us back to our tears. But we won’t weep as those who have no hope. No! We won’t! 

If Father God is bringing or has brought you through a dark, dark night, maybe you could share it here with us. Give Him some glory and lift our hearts. I love you. God will get us through!

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Dark Night Of The Soul

  1. Doug I will ever Love you for how you have loved us – your family.
    Thank you for the words you express, cause we all are missing our Adrian very much, very much.
    I will forever be glad that we had him in our lives and wish with all my heart and yours that we could have had him longer, same with our Tammy.
    I know you are sad and we are sad and trying to move on the best we can right now.
    THANK YOU FOR LOVING US AND WE LOVE YOU – AND ADRIAN KNEW WE LOVED HIM I KNOW FOR SURE.

    SIS, I HATE THAT ADDED TO ALL THE OTHER BURDENS YOU HAVE IN LIFE IS NOW THIS DEEP LOSS OF OUR BROTHER. I AM NOT WISE ENOUGH TO KNOW WHY THIS HAS COME TO US. I LIKE TO THINK OF ADRIAN BEING TRULY AT PEACE NOW…ENJOYING FOR THE FIRST TIME, AFTER SUCH A LONG, FRUITLESS QUEST IN LIFE FOR ASSURANCE OF GOD’S LOVE FOR HIM, THE EMBRACE OF HIS LOVING FATHER AND THE REVITALIZING PRESENCE OF THE SAVIOR WHO LOVED HIM SO MUCH THAT HE DIED FOR HIM. I LIKE TO THINK OF HIM WIDE-EYED WITH JOY AND WONDER AT THE SIGHTS HE SEES IN THE PRESENCE OF JESUS…ALL THE SUFFERING OVER…ALL THE LONELINESS ENDED…ALL THE QUESTIONS ANSWERED. HE’LL BE AWAITING US THERE.
    I LOVE YOU, SIS.

  2. Doug, You have really made me think about how I see faith in folks with this. I have been learning to open my eyes to the realities of Christianity, but you have shown me something more. I see that I am in no position to judge the strength of someone else’s faith. How do I know what they are fighting with internally? How do I know their motives or intentions? I do not, nor can I ever, really know. So I must leave that judgment to God.

    I went through dark times…but did not handle it with any grace or semblence of righteousness. I did shameful, sinful things and thought horrible thoughts about people who meant me no harm. And sadly, I thought highly of those that were utterly evil. God had mercy on this wretched soul of mine and let me live long enough to come to my senses. He held on to me when I was kicking and screaming to be let go. I was in the bottom of the pit and had no one else to look to but Him. Thank you Father, for rescuing me…even though I was (am) not worthy of that rescue.

    May God’s peace rest on you my friend.

    HAVING LISTENED TO YOUR HEART ON THESE BLOG SITES, I DOUBT THAT YOU HAVE EVER WASTED MUCH TIME IN JUDGING OTHERS…BUT YOU ARE RIGHT, I BELIEVE…WE JUST DON’T KNOW ENOUGH TO RELY ON OUR OWN ASSESSMENTS OF OTHERS. ONE PERSON’S FAILURE, MIGHT BE ANOTHER’S VICTORY. ONE PERSON’S TERRIBLE OBSTACLE MAY NOT EVEN BE ANOTHER’S SPEED BUMP. THE PATH WE HAVE EACH TAKEN TO GET WHERE WE ARE NOW IS BASICALLY UNKNOWN TO ANYONE ELSE BUT GOD. ONE THING’S SURE…GOD KNOWS THOSE THAT ARE HIS. AND I FIGURE…THAT IF I AM GOING TO MAKE A MISTAKE TRYING TO DETERMINE IF SOMEONE IS HIS OR NOT, I WOULD MUCH RATHER ERR ON THE SIDE OF GRACE AND BE PROVEN WRONG THAN VICE VERSA.
    SHERRY, I REJOICE WITH YOU IN THE RESCUE GOD HAS ACCOMPLISHED OF US ALL. PEACE TO YOU AS WELL. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SUPPORTING US IN OUR GRIEF.

  3. When I read your brother’s letter that you posted I thought it sounded a lot like one of my journal entries. I wish that I could have met him … spoken with him. I feel like I understand some of what he struggled with.

    I have spent most of my life wanting to die. Even on the best days there is something in me that knows that if given an opportunity to get out of here, I would. I just don’t usually feel like I belong here … I don’t feel like playing this “life” game that we have to do. It feels like there is a short circuit in me that won’t allow me to connect like others do.

    I liked your question: “Which takes more faith…to teach a lost sinner about Christ and get to celebrate his/her homecoming in baptism (which is a truly wondrous thing)…or to refuse to take your own life when, for you, there seems no light at all at the end of the tunnel…when pain is your constant companion after many years of seeking medical help…and when there’s no beloved waiting at home to welcome you and support you in your long and difficult struggle.”

    I don’t know that one takes more faith than the other, but I do know that it is so hard to hold on when you do not see that light of hope. I used to tell people, “I just don’t get it.” They would say, “God is not something you get.” Okay, but that doesn’t help my heart. I had another friend that said that she felt like the day that they taught how to do life in school, she must have been absent. I feel like that often, like I have missed some key that will unlock the mysteries that fill my mind and heart.

    I am fortunate … and wish Adrian had been able to experience this as well. I had some people in my life that were able to break through some of my confusion and give me some insight. I don’t know if it’s how they said it or when they said it … but for some reason I began to “get it”. I began to understand that I don’t have to FEEL good to be God’s kid. I don’t have to be happy all the time to have His promises be true. Once I began to slightly understand how much He wanted to forgive … not HAD to forgive. How much He wanted to love … not HAD to love, I began to see God as more of an ally than an overseer. He was really doing this FOR me not AT me.

    I was also fortunate to discover the root of much of my difficulties in life had to do with lack of sleep. Amazing how important sleep is to our mental health. It was not easy, but once I dealt with that part of my health the rest began to look better. Without sleep, I dreaded every part of my day … could only get through it with pills or drinking. But once I began to sleep I could at least look forward to something at night … some time for my brain to shut down … to cease its attacks.

    There’s a lot to be said about the statement, “Eat a sandwich and take a nap.” Not eating right, not sleeping can have more of an impact on us than we realize. God is supreme … He is all that matters. But unless we help people receive Him then His power is so limited. It seems Adrian may have struggled with this same thing … so many physical obstacles to maneuver that he couldn’t even begin to heal his heart and soul. I wish he had found some clarity here … but you can KNOW that he has clarity now.

    I want to thank you for giving us some glimpses of your brother. I pray that God continues to heal you and yours. Even in your hard times you are an encouragement Doug … God has gifted you with that. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    PAIGE,
    YOUR WISDOM FROM HIS WORD…YOUR INSIGHTS GAINED FROM BITTER EXPERIENCE VIEWED NOW THROUGH THE LENS OF FAITH AND LOVE…YOUR CARE FOR OTHERS…DO YOU KNOW HOW RARE IT IS TO FIND SUCH QUALITIES ALIVE AND WELL IN A HUMAN HEART? THE WAY YOUR WORDS BLESS…WELL, ALL I CAN SAY IS IF THAT’S BECAUSE THERE IS SOME SORT OF SHORT CIRCUIT IN YOU, THEN MAY GOD SHORT US ALL OUT. I WISH YOU COULD HAVE SPOKEN WITH ADRIAN AS WELL. I BELIEVE IT WOULD HAVE BLESSED HIM TO LEARN OF YOUR JOURNEY…AND OF THE LIGHT THAT YOU’VE SEEN THAT KEEPS BECKONING YOU TO FOLLOW…TO NOT QUIT YET…TO WAIT UPON THE LORD.
    THANK YOU FOR SHARING OUR BURDEN. IT DOES MY HEART GOOD TO READ YOUR CARING WORDS, WHICH I CAN TELL COST YOU SOMETHING TO SHARE WITH ME. THANK YOU FOR PAYING THE COST TO CARE.
    I THINK I UNDERSTAND A BIT…JUST A BIT…OF YOUR STATEMENT THAT YOU JUST DON’T FEEL LIKE YOU BELONG HERE. OF COURSE, I BELIEVE THERE IS A TRUTH IN THAT STATEMENT FOR EVERY CHILD OF GOD…BUT…TAKE IT FROM ME…FOR NOW (AND UNTIL FATHER GOD DECIDES OTHERWISE) YOU DO BELONG. YOU BELONG BECAUSE YOU GET TO OUR HEARTS (YOU ARE IN OUR HEARTS). YOU BELONG BECAUSE OTHERS (WE) ARE RELYING ON YOU. YOU BELONG BECAUSE JESUS IS LISTENING, CARING, SPEAKING AND HELPING THROUGH YOU. MAYBE YOU CAN’T SEE IT…CAN’T SEE HIM LIKE YOU WANT TO. BUT WE SEE HIM IN YOU. WILL YOU BELIEVE US? YOU BELONG BECAUSE YOU BRING HIM PLEASURE. I AM ONLY ONE WHO HAS BEEN BLESSED BY THE LORD’S MASTERFUL WORK IN YOU. TAKE IT FROM ALL OF US…WE AND HE BELIEVE DEEP DOWN THAT YOU BELONG. YOU ARE HIS BELOVED. AND THANK YOU FOR STAYING…JUST ONE MORE DAY…ONE MORE NIGHT…AND THEN ANOTHER. GOD BLESS YOU, PAIGE.

  4. Email Girl on said:

    This post reminds me of the email you sent me last week. Your words have weighed on my heart and I’ve been in much thought over what you said. In particular, the part about the faith of someone who lives in the dark but continues to search for the Father. I don’t think it’s the first time you’ve laid this idea on my heart….the idea that somehow my faith is extraordinary because I still continue to seek Him out in the midst of my adversity throughout my life. When I first read those types of words from you I scoffed….I wondered how you could come up with such a thing. My faith is weak…I am weak. I’ve always been a fingertip away from the Lord….just out of reach. Only brief fleeting moments have I spent truly in His fold….that’s how I’ve felt anyway. But you’ve got me thinking more about it now.

    The dark night of my soul is very dark at times…been this way for most of my life. But no matter how dark it’s been, throughout my life, there has always been at least a glimmer of light over in the corner. That light is my God. When I was child living in the adversity I lived in, I cried out to Him in the night, when I was alone, when I was afraid. I wondered how this God could be so unfair. But I’ve realized something extraordinary about those times…I never stopped seeking His love, His comfort…I never stopped needing Him, wanting Him. Is that faith? I’ve never seen it like that….I’ve never acknowledged it as anything but my own weak struggle to relate to God. Besides, I was only a child….can a child have faith like that? I don’t know.

    Searching for God…Is that really faith…the desire to be close to Him? Is it only faith if that desire is in the midst of heartache and hard times? I’m trying to get my brain around this idea. It would be freeing to know that I am indeed not so weak after all. However I’m not sure I can believe that. Does my faith sustain me? Is it my faith that keeps me walking? So much of the time I just want to lie down and give up…but there is something that doesn’t allow me to. Maybe that is my faith. I still don’t know.

    The glow of my God over in the corner shines bright some days. Other days He’s barely visible to my eye. My life today is spent groping around in the dark….trying to find my way to Him. But there are obstacles. Most of the obstacles are put there by other people trying to trip me up. The biggest offender there is my husband. He refuses to allow me to find anything happy without crushing it. On a daily basis he belittles me, demeans me, hurts me both physically and emotionally and yet I keep trying to see around him…trying to not lose sight of the light. My own mother is an obstacle…she is standing in my way. The words from her mouth sting because her actions don’t back them up. She says she will help me…she says that she’s behind me…and yet I don’t feel her presence at all. I feel constantly that she doubts me and that standing behind me means she’ll suffer and makes me feel guilty for that. And yet I try and see over her. I’ve got several friends that are gathered around the light in the corner…cheering me on to get there. I love them. They are the best….they live in the light. But I just realized right now…that even before they were there…even when no one was cheering me on, at least not that I could hear or see, I was still trying to get there. Maybe THAT is faith.

    I think your faith is amazing. Even in the midst of your heartache and troubled times you’ve found a bright light of your own to shine that speaks to the rest of us. I continue to pray that God hold you in the palm of His hand and comfort you with His love.

    YES, DEAR SISTER, A CHILD CAN HAVE FAITH LIKE THAT. JESUS PLACED A LITTLE ONE IN THE MIDST OF THE GROWN UPS AND SAID, UNLESS YOU BECOME LIKE THIS CHILD, FORGET ABOUT IT. I HATE WHAT OUR WORLD HAS BECOME. I MOURN FOR ALL THE LITTLE CHILDREN WHO LIVE WITH THE KIND OF HORRORS THAT YOU LIVED WITH TOO LONG. HOW DOES IT EVER GET BETTER? WHERE DOES SUCH PAIN GO? SUCH EVIL. SO VERY ALONE. IT WILL BREAK MY HEART. IT HAS BROKEN MY HEART. I GRIEVE FOR THAT LITTLE GIRL. I PRAY THAT SHE FINDS A SAFE PLACE. I BELIEVE THAT JESUS HEALS SUCH WOUNDS (I DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW…BUT I BELIEVE IT).
    AND YES…SEARCHING FOR GOD IS FAITH TOO. YOUR THIRD PARAGRAPH IS THE BEST DEFINITION OF FAITH I HAVE HEARD IN A LONG WHILE…”Is that really faith…the desire to be close to Him? Is it only faith if that desire is in the midst of heartache and hard times?…Does my faith sustain me? Is it my faith that keeps me walking? So much of the time I just want to lie down and give up…but there is something that doesn’t allow me to. Maybe that is my faith.” NO MAYBE ABOUT IT, SISTER, THAT IS TRUE, SHINING, STRONG TRUST. GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK. YOU ARE A TRUE BELIEVER!
    I PRAY THAT GOD WILL GIVE YOU STRENGTH EQUAL TO YOUR DAYS…RESOLVE TO LET NO ONE AND NO THING COME BETWEEN YOU AND HIM AGAIN…COMFORT FOR ALL YOUR HEART’S SORROWS…AND ASSURANCE THAT HE DELIGHTS IN YOU AND YOUR AMAZING FAITH THAT WILL NOT QUIT! MAY GOD RICHLY BLESS YOU AND GIVE YOU ALL KINDS OF PEACE IN BELIEVING.
    AND THANK YOU FOR HAVING THE FAITH TO REACH OUT TO ME AND MINE AND TO CARE FOR US IN OUR SORROW. YOU HAVE BLESSED US.

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