The holy unknowing – darkness

By Dave Henning / October 25, 2023

“The darkness, the holy unknowing that characterizes this freedom [of trust], is the opposite of confusion and ignorance.  Confusion happens when mystery is the enemy and we feel we must solve it to master our destinies.  And ignorance is not knowing that we do not know.  In the liberation of the night, we are freed from having to figure things out, and we find delight in knowing that we do not know.”- Gerald G. May, The Dark Night of the Soul

In Chapter 9 (“A Choice in the Dark”) of The Night is Normal, Alicia Britt Chole underscores that God’s presence in the night frees us.  Frees us to trust more — even when we know less.  Because, she notes, God Himself pulls our faith upward into Himself and His love.  Not our human optimism, intellect, or accomplishment.

Above all, Dr. Choles stresses, one force keeps us moving upward from disillusionment into love.  Instead of downward into bail.  That force — our commitment to God.  Furthermore, following Jesus centers more on who we are with than where we are going.  And since we cannot self-guide in the night, that’s where our muscles get a better workout.  But in the daylight, we believe we can self-guide.

However, Dr. Chole counsels, it takes effort to stay committed to God through disillusionment.  And, she cautions, danger exists if we deem that work too costly and opt to bail.  For the loss of illusions can end in abandonment of religious beliefs.  Commitment, not certainty, carries us upward into God’s love.

In conclusion, Dr. Choles states, biblical hope in the night is:

  • anchored in a Person, not in an earthly outcome.
  • not a spiritualized form of positive thinking, holding on until a brighter tomorrow replaces our darker today.
  • in a good and gracious God who is with us every moment.

So, Dr. Chole exhorts, commit again and again to following Jesus through the night.

Today’s question: How does the holy unknowing of darkness free you to delight in knowing that you don’t know?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Entering the pain with God”

About the author

Dave Henning

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