Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Sight for a Dark Night of the Soul


“In a dark time, the eye begins to see.”
― THEODORE ROETHKE (1908 – 1963)
There is great value in challenges to the empires of our selves. But we hate them when they come. Anyone who says they love being tested is either a fool or a liar.
We hate being tested when we see it as one of futility, or as a consequence for something we don’t approve of. But when we see the purpose in being tested, which is to grow in the spiritual confidence of faith as an outcome of trusting God, we gain sight to see even (especially even) in the midst of a dark time.
Two things are required to gain spiritual maturity. The first is obvious: we must suffer some extraneous event or situation that pushes our trust into the nether regions. It would not be faith otherwise if we weren’t tested. There is no use resenting the test, because it is the very thing God uses as a pre-requisite to spiritual growth.
Whether we resent the test or we accept it determines the second thing: where we respond as if the test is just a test, and we are eager to please God in faithfulness, we earn the stripes on spiritual maturity on the journey toward the perfection of spiritual progress (for there is no such thing as spiritual perfection this side of eternity).
Dark Times Open Our Eyes – All of Them
We are not necessarily restricted to visual vision, here.
Sight, in this context, is a broader theme for the perception of truth toward proper discernment. The pre-requisite for the gaining of this discernment, by correct sight, by the perception of truth, is the inbounding darkness.
Having been tested and pushed and having been taken close to our limits requires faith if we are to remain in the game. Whatever requires faith – whatever insists we use faith to get through – is necessarily a dark circumstance. But we know that, though God does not test us, God does use dark times in order to grow us. And God grows us first by opening our eyes – the eyes of our hearts and the eyes of our sensitivity to the truth and recognition for hope.
Suddenly we see with straighter sight. We are more convicted and selfless.
***
When we respond well to a dark time God gives us the gifts of sight for truth, sight for compassion, and sight for hope. We see a bigger life for what we suffer well. Our worlds don’t shrivel, they expand. We are better for what we endure.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

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