When You Are Feeling Hopeless: The Long Dark Night of the Soul
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There is a phrase used throughout Christian history to describe a challenging time when God seems silent and the expresser of the emotion feels alone and hopeless. They say they are experiencing a long, dark night of the soul. I’ve had two seasons in my life that I would categorize that way. Have you ever felt like this?
Life Can be Hard and Seem Hopeless
For ten days, I had been vomiting violently. I had lost nearly 10 lbs in five days. My sweet, growing baby was distressed because I was so ill and there was talk of being admitted to the hospital. I was too weak to take care of my children, too queasy to be around them if food was involved.
I felt like a failure. I felt alone. I felt ill equipped and inadequate to care for the six sweet blessings God has already given us, and overwhelmed by the prospect of caring for the one in my womb. I felt hopeless.
I was heading into a place of emotional darkness I had never before approached and I knew I didn’t like it, but I had no clue how to get rid of the feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy I felt bathed in. I reached out for help, but didn’t really know what to say at all, so no one really knew how to help me.
Sometimes God Walks Next To You Instead of Changing Your Path
However, it became clear after much prayer that God was not going to deliver me from this illness. At least, not yet. Instead of taking me out of that season, He joined me on my journey. I felt like He spoke clearly to me that I had to walk through it, to be willing to trust that there was hope even though all I felt was hopeless.
He wanted me to become desperate for Him in a way I hadn’t been before. And I resisted. So He allowed me to keep spinning my wheels until my only recourse was to cry in His lap and beg for help. Instantly, sweet peace fell over my heart and my body. I asked God what was going on; after all, I had believed Him for miracles many times before and He had never failed to deliver them. Why not now? Why not for me?
After the Night Comes the Dawn
And I have never been more thankful that He didn’t just move me to a new season. Why? Because I learned something critically important to my faith walk throughout this experience. I learned that my reliance on Him has nothing to do with His power to save, His ability to heal, or His goodness in doing those things in my life.
It needed to be based upon who God is. It needed to be based upon the Truth of the Word, and not upon my feelings or experiences. God allowed me to sit in a dark place so that I would seek His light. He allowed me to languish in the night hours so that I would be able to truly rejoice in the mercies that are new each morning. He taught me to hope in Him and not in His healing or His provision. Just Him. He is my inheritance; He is my hope. And that is enough!
So, dear sister in the trenches, I want to encourage you. Night never lasts forever; the dawn is approaching. There will be a moment when your hopeless heart swells with hope and your eyes see what God has done behind the scenes. And when the light begins to spill over into the night, it will be more beautiful than you could have ever imagined.