Do you ever find yourself in a period of darkness? Your soul feels heavy, but you cannot pinpoint the reason. All seems to be well on the outside...
For once, I am pondering darkness when I actually don't feel like I'm in a season of darkness. I've felt light lately. Encouraged. Joyful. Free.
I've really been enjoying the book Clinging: The Experience of Prayer by Emilie Griffin that Tara Leigh lent me. And it's the chapter on "Darkness" that's been most helpful to read when I don't feel like I'm in a dark place right now. It's one experience to reach for help when your mind is clouded and desperate. It's quite another to read it from a place of peace, more in preparation and protection for what might come. I'm not being negative to believe that the darkness will come again. It's a part of life.
"I remember clearly (and any day it might come again) the terrible reluctance to start praying on the chance that the first thing I would find is a wall. And the wall, I knew, would not be a wall at which I was to stop, but one I was expected to walk through.
And when one asks the Lord in prayer about the wall, asking Him to take the wall away, the answer is simply that the wall exists in order for us to walk through it.
But the remarkable thing is that we do. We walk into and through the wall in a way that is beyond comprehension. This impossible thing that is quite beyond us and that we nevertheless are able to do shows us both an inevitability and an incomprehensible overturning of the systematic order of things. It's the what-we-can't-do-under-any-circumstances that is nevertheless to be done.
Darkness comes to deepen our prayer and to strengthen us. But God does this not all at once and not by seeming to. This experience is different from any other, akin to pain but not like pain because it has no sharp edges. It is the bleakness of grief without any object of grief. No one has died, nothing is lost to us, except perhaps a vision we once had and were clinging to, instead of God himself."
~ Clinging: The Experience of Prayer, pp. 36-37
What do you think of this?
I'm puttering through this book at a snail's pace, because I keep coming across paragraphs, sentences, or phrases that halt me, like the one above. I could think for days on a portion of a single page, such as, "the wall exists in order for us to walk through it." Those are the best kinds of books, aren't they? I'll keep plowing through it...