Revival, Survival, and Everything In-between: Part IV
“Dark” is a metaphor for a season where God seems absent and the spiritual life is hard, or completely halted. There are mounds and mounds of books on this, which we would be glad to recommend, if you’re interested (just contact us, also Spiritual Direction is a great place to begin processing and growing closer to God in this season) But, to keep it brief…
There is no “easy” answer for dark season. Dark seasons are deeply personal, and can only be addressed in full by a growing personal relationship with God. But hopefully these reflections can help you turn the corner toward the light.
Consider, sometimes darkness is the perfect time to learn to hear God’s voice. And maybe this season is the best way He can reveal this part of His character to you? Or perhaps, it’s a necessary and possibly the only way He can access that deep part your heart or identity that effects everything else?
Darkness isn’t forever (deep sigh of relief). And darkness can be used for our good. For example, in darkness, our eyes can no longer take in light, so our other senses heighten—touch, taste, smell, hearing. Sometimes God wants to train us to listen to Him, to be familiar with Him, and to grow in our capacity to trust Him (that’s the old word: perseverance) with all of our senses. This means learning to connect with Him in new and different ways. A great prayer to pray:
An old Puritan sign that assured one of salvation was called the perseverance of the saints. The fact that one continued walking forward, kept drawing closer to Jesus in the long dark season, endured in faith, hope, and love, actually affirmed the truth of one’s genuine conversion. Interesting, huh!
Again, God is doing a deeply personal work. And, in relationship with God, the goal can begin to shift from “getting out” to “getting through” it with His presence and power.
Some practices that can help transform this season:
Can you sense what God is doing in this season of your walk with Him? Take a second and name a few of the darkest moments of your season.
Then name a few of the lightest, or best moments.
Can you draw a theme between these?
Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. You may find God’s voice and presence will surprise you when you draw near to Him.
Take some time and be honest with God.
Write out your specific struggles in a few sentences and then turn them into a prayer.
What if God answered all of these right now, how would you respond?
What if He never answered any of these the way you want? How would you respond?
Talk with him about the results of this exercise. Reflect on this conversation in a journal.
Read scripture out loud, as if Jesus was right there listening to you.
Then tell Him your thoughts about it.
Consider, did you get a sense of His thoughts about it? You can take confidence in God’s character over and above the sense of His presence and His voice.
Even when we’re faithless, He is still faithful (2 Timothy 2.13)
Be honest with your emotions, but don’t let them run the show!
Sometimes just meditating on a truth can change the emotional pressure.
What truth could God hand to you right now that would change everything?
Talk with Him about that? What is it like to sit in the presence of the God who embodies that very truth?
Were there any scriptures or promises God was speaking to you before this season began?
Could this be part of that process? If so, how?
Talk to God about the way you “used to connect,” and the way things “used to be with Him.”
Ask Him, and consider together, what about that does He delight in and never, ever lose, and what part of your relationship is shifting and developing?
Lastly, consider prayers of cleansing. Scripture says,
The idea of “Spiritual Warfare” can grate against our Western mindsets, but, truth be known, in seasons of darkness, we often encounter and confront the enemy of our souls. If we’re soul-searching with a presumption that it’s only me and God in this journey, then we may grow frustrated and even be significantly delayed by the unseen forces of the enemy.
The enemy wants to destroy our progress, steal our relationship with God, and crush our hope in Him. The Apostle Paul’s writing is full of active imagery, an athlete, a solider, a boxer—if we’re in the kingdom of God, then we’re automatically in conflict with any other kingdom.
Consider taking some time to pray through the Armor of God, putting on the characteristics of the armor like a solider:
Example: “Father, I put on the Breastplate of Righteousness. Jesus died so I can be forgiven and have a right relationship with You, and even though I’m struggling this morning, I cover my heart, my most vulnerable place, with Your righteousness.”
Try this with each item of the Armor of God.
How do you feel afterward? How did that impact the rest of your day?
Consider how the enemy has attempted to attack you at your place of strength:
The enemy of our souls often attacks us at our point of strength, aka. our point of greatest potential. The ancients said if you look hard enough, you can see the serpent’s tail. So look for that, and run to God’s victory in Jesus, and His intention to use those areas for His glory and your good.
If you’ve had setback after setback in a specific area, write those down. Can you summarize it in a theme?
Example: “After asking for help from my teacher in elementary school, my coach in high school, and my boss at work, it all backfired. Every time I reach out for help, I am hurt. So I feel compelled to give up asking. But now, I’m realizing that the enemy attacked my place of strength. God has actually made me a connector, a person who loves to reach out and network with others. I’ve hidden this for so long, but now I pray, ‘God, if I am a connector, will you show me more about this, and how You’ve given me a gift that you want to develop and use in my life?’” *personalize this for your own journey.
Now, take it deeper. Look for points in scripture where God has used that sort of weakness and turned it into a point of strength. It’s for good reason the Apostle Paul wrote, “God’s power is perfected in weakness…For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12.9-11).
Wow, you’ve done great work already just beginning to consider some of these things. I know Jesus will honor that and the Spirit has already been moving in your life. Even beginning to read this blog is a sign of His drawing you closer. We’re with you, to support you and bless you on your journey.
And, as usual, if you would like support, have questions, or are interested in spending international time alone with God, just reach out to us here at Soul-Care.com. Our prayer is to see you flourish in your relationship with God over a lifetime.
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