No one ever wants to experience a night of the soul. None of us want to have days when we feel like our souls will never again see the morning light. Why would we ever seek to get stuck in the sadness, anger, loneliness or regrets of life? When we get stuck it feels like there is no way out.
There is a promise for you, for me, for all of us as we live through our nights of the soul.
For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5
My darkest night of the soul happened just after our middle son, Caleb, was stillborn. Eight days away from his due date, the nursery all ready, the bag all packed – then gone.
Night fell hard on me and it was pitch black. In the darkness I lost sight of myself, my life and my God. I wept in this new night. I wept a lot. I closed my eyes to the morning for a long while.
Yet even in the night, He held me tight. His arms enveloped me with a love that can stand any kind of darkness, even darkness that comes from dying on a cross. He whispered to me in the night, He told me He knew what it was to lose a child, He told me that the morning would come. He made this world so morning will always come. Morning even came after the tomb.
There was a full year of night. At first my dreams were dark, void of hope, full of loss. There were many who reached out to me in the night and shared similar stories. Their stories touched the blackness of my story and brought tiny rays of light. And over time, the dreams changed. They began to hint at something familiar. Something that was still out of reach, but coming closer and closer. Something that looked like morning.
Slowly the darkness lifted. Slowly I lifted my eyes to the morning. I began to glimpse the pinks and oranges of His sunrise. His arms came out from around me but He never left me. Instead He held out His hand to me and we walked through those first rays of light. After a while we ran, skipped, jumped, and even laughed in the light. We danced joy’s song in the full light of day. The music wasn’t always happy and the dance was often slow and painful, yet it played on. Angels sang the melody. The hammering of nails to a cross kept the beat. The tune was eternal.
His favour lasts a lifetime means that even when my night fell hard and the dark was pitch black, Joy was still with me. He is my joy and He is my morning. I may have lost sight of Him when there seemed to be no light, but He was still there. Joy held me tight even as I turned from Him. Joy shone His light even as I closed my eyes to Him. His favour scattered the long dark night and replaced my weeping with the joy of His people, His cross, His heaven and His hope. A song of hope that is ours for the dancing.
Night does return sometimes. Just as morning follows night, so night follows morning. I see the darkness returning every year on Caleb’s birthday. Night sometimes comes when I see three brothers playing together, or watch the tears of baby-loss fall on another woman’s face, or feel the soul-struggle of my husband at the cemetery. The weeping becomes part of us, but He helps us carry the hope and joy of His morning into the darkness of each night.
It will get better. He knows no other way. I just love His favour.
What helped me most in my darkest night of the soul:
- Surrounding myself with His people
- Immersing myself in His word
- Pouring out His music into my life
- Sharing the load, even when it hurt
- Doing anything I found uplifting
- Staying as healthy as I could