Speaker, award-winning author, and mentor Dr. Alicia Britt Chole recently penned The Night is Normal: A Guide Through Spiritual Pain (Tyndale, 2023). Dr. Chole poignantly observes that holy invitations to grow our love for God fill the night. Most significantly, the priceless treasures within the night are far too weighty for sunshine to hold. Furthermore, night-faith leads us to something far more satisfying than understanding and far more powerful than peace. As we walk with God, more truth lies ahead of us than behind us. Losing illusions and gaining reality frees us to be more present to God. In addition, the open door of disillusionment allows us to lose “false judgments” and gain accuracy. Above all, Dr. Chole exhorts, we must normalize the night of faith, lest we mistake spiritual darkness for spiritual death.
Yet, our culture fails to teach us how to live past the point of spiritual pain in life, let alone faith. Therefore, the framework for processing disillusionment helps you avoid trusting your add-on assumptions as proof of what you know. Thus, the inherent call of disillusionment is for you to trust against much evidence. Commitment, not certainty, carries us upward into God’s love. So, when in spiritual pain, ask what God wants. Hence, the antithesis of hiding from God involves being honest with God and about God. The real gain of honest = relationship. As a result, committing to God in the midst of pain requires that we value His presence more than our quantifiable progress. The painful planting of dreams is God’s business. But serving in faith is ours.
The night is normal. Purified through the night, love strengthens. Addressing old issues in a new season often signals growth. Rather than failure. However. God’s voice, often directional, whispers to us in our weakness. Certainly, if we let failure speak, it serves as one of the wisest treasures in our growth process. Above all, growth means that you are more today than yesterday. And when you view faith as a pilgrimage, love and glad surrender motivate your journey. Consequently, you focus on the direction Jesus leads you — not one performance. Critique your definition of victory, making sure your signs for spiritual growth are spiritual.
In conclusion, Dr. Chole counsels, commit to the upward pull of God’s love when disillusioned with God’s people. Be slow to assure that sin is the source of your disillusionment. As a result, learn to hear others’ hearts more than their words. Articulate your expectations. Furthermore, accept the fact that certain things remain outside your control. Because in doing so, your choice opens the way for you to offer others nonanxious presence. And speak to heal, not to harm. For our true hope lies not in the family of God, but in the God of the family. Oswald Chambers once described faith in God as a terrific venture in the dark. Indeed, the night is normal.
Dr. Chole encourages:
“[Christ] is committed to us. And He has committed us to one another. We are His body on this earth. In the day and through the night.”