Every journey has dark seasons of the soul. And they actually are not just a one and done. They come throughout our lives. These are the times where we feel like God has forgotten us, when he has rejected us and that he has been passive in letting the bad things in life overtake us. It’s a hard place to be. Jesus felt this too. “Why Lord have you forsaken me?” (Ps 22; Mt 27:46).
This is the place that David found himself in when he wrote Psalm 13.
How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
These seasons are pretty rough. They test everything we know and believe about God. And as one has said, “The teacher is always silent during the test.” But in this dark night of the soul David remembers the nature and character of God:
But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.
It is this strange paradoxical life that is lived in the dark.
How long will you hide your face from me? —- I trust in your unfailing love
Day after day have sorrow in my heart – my heart rejoices in your salvation
How long will my enemy triumph over me – my heart rejoices in your salvation
Give light to my eyes or I will sleep in death – I will sing the Lord’s praise
My enemy will say, “I have over him,” – he has been good to me.
The dark place for the faithful is not about being fully discouraged or fully triumphant. It is actually a state of being fully both. It’s the state of recognizing and being honest with your thoughts, fears, and feelings, while at the same time walking in trust, rejoicing and singing. It’s like the enemy came and the soldiers were there in the room, but someone the light. You wonder why the light is cut and it isn’t coming on again. And while the enemy is still there, you know the soldiers are there too even when you don’t see them.
And then there are those two little words that make it even more real. The two words that define his love. And those are the words “to me.” How often do we think God is good (but mostly to others), and does miracles (for everyone else). It’s easy to believe for others and harder to believe for ourselves. But it’s our faith that pleases God (Heb 11:1). And it’s the words “he has been good to me” that define our understanding of His love for us. And it’s this trust in his love for us that gets us through our dark nights of the soul.