Spiritual pain – senseless?

By Dave Henning / October 27, 2023

“Even when you cannot make sense of it, your spiritual pain is not senseless.  God wastes nothing.  Your disillusionment has been well-traveled by countless believers who have gone before you.  And your commitment to the upward pull of love in the night is more powerful than you can imagine.”- Alicia Britt Chole

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.”- Psalm 42:1 (NIV)

In Chapter 12 (“What God Wants”) of The Night is Normal, Alicia Britt Chole notes our natural motivation in response to spiritual pain.  We focus on what we want.  Yet, Dr. Chole counsels, wisdom invites us to begin with a different question: What does God want?  In other words, from God’s perspective, what would “success” look like as we navigate our nights?

Perhaps we assume God’s goal aligns perfectly with ours: ending the pain.  Instead, Dr. Chole states, “success” from God’s viewpoint has less to do with our ability to change the scenery.  And more to do with our continued commitment to His company.

Hence, Dr. Chole extends this concept (emphasis author’s):

“In the night, my treasure was fixing things through figuring out things.  God’s treasure was my follow. . . .  Through commitment, as we choose again and again to follow Jesus through the night, we will eventually find our way through the pain.  Spiritual pain is not eternal.  It is a temporary mentor — an unexpected friend of those who live life in a fallen world.”

Moving on to Chapter 13 (“Something Old”), Dr. Chole tells the story of Marty Nystrom, a schoolteacher by trade.  While visiting a college friend, Marty found himself “broke and heartbroken.”

As a result, Marty entered into a fast, drinking only water.  On day nineteen of his fast, Marty found an open Bible on an available piano.  Most significantly, God gave Marty a melody for Psalm 42:1.  His college friend then shared the song with the entire student body.  The rest is history.

Today’s question: Do you believe that your spiritual pain is not senseless?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “The unexpected loss of light”

About the author

Dave Henning

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