This is a continuation of my post yesterday about dealing with the topic of doubt. It is a common misconception that there is something wrong with doubts, that if you doubt you don’t really believe. This is simply not true. Even John the Baptist had doubts. “Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’ And Jesus answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.’ (Matthew 11:2-6)
Now at this point we know from the Gospel of John that John the Baptist has already seen Jesus and proclaimed him to be the Messiah and the “Lamb of God” (John 1:29). So why is he asking from prison if he’s “the one who is to come”? Because he’s doubting. His mindset was probably, “If you’re the Messiah, what in the world am I doing locked in prison? This is obviously not the way things were supposed to go.” John the Baptist met Jesus, he paved the way for him, and Jesus describes him as the greatest person in the history of the world (Matthew 11:11). Yet, he still had doubts. So if you are doubting or no longer feel God’s presence, relax, you’re in good company.
These times of suffering and doubt are the greatest weapons that non-believers use against us, but they are also God’s greatest weapons. I would say for the overwhelming majority of people, we grow the most when we’re going through pain and suffering. If someone is perfectly happy, they have very little motivation to change. It is in our weakest and darkest moments that we yearn most for the light. And when we finally get it, the light was worth the wait. You can find my post from yesterday here.
The Dark Night of the Soul
In the darkest night of the soul,
The bleakest veil of blackness
Is pulled down over the sky.
You look out with piercing gazes,
But the Lord hides himself from your eyes.
Doubts well up inside you like cumbersome tears,
Suffering over the meaning of it all
And bound by your deepest fears.
You cry out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
But your words don’t reach his ears.
And each morning you rise hopeful
That the Son will rise along the eastern sky.
But another day passes, your bitter “whys” festering
In the cold, damp darkness.
But to have a dark night
One must have first had a bright day.
We lay in the midst of solitude
Because we recognize we weren’t always alone.
What we breathe our numbered breaths into
Leaves us vulnerable and open to attack
Because our life’s meaning hangs by a thread
And is defined by the object of our heart’s desire.
And during those numbered days,
When all hope has been vacuumed from the soul,
The strength to carry on is a burden few understand.
But you push on knowing God is there,
Even when he can’t be felt.
Then, when that dawn comes,
It’s too beautiful to describe
And harder to fathom –
For faith flows freely once again.
The captain of your heart and soul
Never jumped ship and abandoned you,
But let you steer for awhile
So you’d come to appreciate
And depend on his presence all the more.
-Poem Written by Justin Farley
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The poem got me a bit deja-vu….we appreciate the light only through knowing the darkness…without the scars,we’d never know of the power of healing…The dark night of the soul will only be there till you have truly disciplined your mind to understand that there is nothing impossible to God….till your faith is on a solid footing…and that is when your heart will truly be at peace. But this is just my personal opinion because my experience has been such.
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Yes, I think it is different for different people. Faith is received through seeking God, but I don’t believe that it is from yourself, but a gift of God. The experience of “the dark night of the soul” that I am referring to is deep doubt and separation from God not at the beginning of faith, but far into it. Such examples can be seen in St. John of the Cross, St. Therese of Lisieux, and most recently Mother Teresa. Now I could be wrong, but I don’t think those people had a problem with faith as far along on their journey as they were. I believe that their gift of faith has taken from them for a time period to test and refine them. I just believe that there are times in a human’s life that no matter how great your faith is, you will doubt and feel darkness – it is just the nature of being human. In those moments, faith becomes more than a feeling, but an action you take despite what you are feeling. You can even look at Jesus and make a case for even his doubt on the cross when he uttered, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”. I believe what touches us so deeply about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and the Crucifixion, is not only his sacrifice, but his duel nature is radically exposed. Some may disagree, but it is hard not to belief from his actions in the garden that he was not anxious and fearful. Even though he knows what has to be done, his human nature still does not understand completely. Now there will be some people who receive Christ and will never doubt the rest of their lives, and others will doubt daily, as it seems Mother Teresa did most of her life. Why is that? I don’t know, but I think you’d have a hard time convincing most people that Mother Teresa didn’t follow Christ. I believe doubt is much like temptation. It is not inherently wrong to feel it, but what we do with it that matters. Always appreciate your comments 🙂
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Reblogged this on TheKingsKidChronicles and commented:
This young man has a firm grasp on the Christian growth process. He’s also a great poet. Hope you all like this as much as I did from alongthebarrenroad.com
Thank you for sharing. Like you, I believe our faith can only grown stronger through deep, dark times. King David, when he lost his first child with Bathsheba, or when his own son, Absalom, turned against him and tried to overthrow his kingship. We can never grasp the greatness of God until we cry out in desperation and see how He gets us through. It’s what saved my marriage many years ago. We never knew the joy that awaited us until we got to the other side, the winning side, of the problem.