The bottle of spiritual consolation

By Dave Henning / July 12, 2021

“John [of the Cross] explained that in a season of spiritual dryness, God is weaning us from the bottle of spiritual consolation, so we can learn to trust the loving presence of Christ and bless other people, even when we’re in difficult circumstances.”- Bill Gaultiere

“And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness – secret treasures.  I will do this so you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name.”- Isaiah 45:3 (NLT)

As Bill Gaultiere continues Chapter 8 of Journey of the Soul, he explains what John of the Cross meant by the Dark Night of the Soul.  At one point, John spent nine months in solitary confinement.  Because he defied religious authorities through teaching contemplative prayer.  In addition, they flogged John and fed him rations of bread and water.  Also, John had nothing to read and no pen or paper for writing.

Finally, John escaped to Teresa’s convent.  There he provided spiritual direction ministry.  And he wrote about the Dark Night of the Soul.  Above all, Bill notes, John stressed that sin, lack of spiritual discipline, or other problems didn’t cause a Dark Night.  Most significantly, though, we believe that our blackout arrives when God moves away.  However, John stated, in reality we’re blinded by the nearness of God’s bright presence shining in our face (emphasis Bill’s).

Therefore, Bill reminds us, we discover hidden blessings even in a season of desolation.  In addition, the little brave monk distinguished between two different types of soul darkness:

  1. The Dark Night of the Senses – not feeling that God’s blessing you.
  2. The Dark Night of the Spirit – not feeling that God’s using you.

Yet, in both types of Dark Night, the Lord lovingly teaches us that the best blessings are inward.  Rather than outward.  Thus, in the Dark Night of the Senses, learn to find delight in knowing Jesus.  Even when you fail to sense Him in your circumstances.  Finally, in the Dark Night of the Spirit, learn to flourish in sharing the love of Jesus.  Even if you feel that no one appreciates you.

Today’s question:  What Scriptures help in weaning you from the bottle of spiritual consolation?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Abandonment to God – our posture”

About the author

Dave Henning

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