I have recently begun to dig into (and that is what you do with this book… it is decidedly NOT a quick read, nor should it be) St John of the Cross’ The Dark Night of the Soul. This 16th century priest was imprisoned under horrible conditions for his devotion, during which time he wrote this wonderful work. He addresses those times when our soul knows only pain (the dark night…), and how we then most clearly see the transcendent heart of God.
I don’t know about you, but I always know God loves me, in a very cerebral way. My struggle sometimes is to connect on the heart level – that is where the enemy attacks me – feeling/living the part of beloved son. Part of my journey of faith is staying connected to the ransomed heart that Christ gave me… letting that head knowledge seep down into the core of me, feeling the joy of knowing I am the beloved son.
My counselors over the years have pointed out to me that this is probably because of the way Dennis, my dad, left my life… and I would agree. But I also know it is because I am human, and since the beginning the Liar (did you know that all names for Satan have at their root the theme liar/accuser!) has worked relentlessly to convince us that God REALLY didn’t mean all of that. If the enemy can convince our hearts that God isn’t really there for us, then all the knowledge in the world won’t accomplish a blasted thing.
Not a betting man, but I have a wager for you: If you, or a friend of yours, is not following God, maybe even a little antagonistic to a life of following Jesus, I’ll wager it isn’t JUST over some fact, some piece of information that you find hard to swallow. I’ll bet its your heart – somewhere deep down inside you don’t feel God as the loving father you’ve heard him to be. THAT journey takes courage, because it is not some removed, idealized concept on the line – it is your heart, and heartbreak costs. But I encourage you, take the risk… read, write, sing, pray – whatever it is you do, and begin the journey of connecting with God on the heart level. One good way (if you are a reader) is to read The Dark Night, or sit by your favorite lake and talk/write to God, or whatever – just let your heart go. I’ll wager it gets returned to you.