Misinterpreting the night

By Dave Henning / October 16, 2023

“A distinction between night and growth, nearness, and love has spiritually shipwrecked many souls.  Misinterpreting the night and overwhelmed by spiritual pain, we cut anchor and lose, or abandon, our confidence in God, in our ability to follow God, or in the community of God’s people. . . .  The night is not your enemy.”- Dr. Alicia Britt Chole

In Chapter 1 (“Facing the Storm Together”) of The Night is Normal: A Guide through Spiritual Pain, Dr. Alicia Britt Chole underscores that when we view storms as relational, it’s possible to survive them.  Because holy invitations to grow our love for God fill the night.

Certainly, Dr. Chole acknowledges, it can frighten us when our faith feels ungrounded, untethered, unkept.  But, the author stresses, please know that you are not alone.  In addition, you’re not as far away from home as you think — or it may feel.  But even though the night is normal, you need tools to navigate the night.  Otherwise, the night can be longer and thick than it needs to be.

Therefore, Dr.Chole counsels:

“Lacking a framework for valuing and processing disillusionment, we assume that spiritual growth prefers the happy day and shuns the not-so-happy night.  Consequently, we avoid the night, viewing it as spiritual-formation misfire or a senseless waste of time and potential.

This error is certainly not new. . . . But in any age, when an error is elevated to the status of belief, creed, or doctrine, its power to undermine faith is amplified.  Untruth can never heal.  And truth — not optimism or daylight — is what genuine spiritual growth craves.”

In conclusion, Dr. Chole encourages, your night won’t last forever.  Yet, within your night, priceless treasure exists.  A treasure too weighty for sunshine to hold.

As a result, resist the urge to outrun or outgun your pain.  Don’t move faster, sing louder, work harder, or stuff your soul with distractions.  For the night is normal — and necessary!

Today’s question: What Bible verses keep you from misinterpreting the night?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Faith in full sun – preferred?”

About the author

Dave Henning

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