Insights from John of the Cross for our current day.
Almost 500 years ago, John of the Cross wrote his extraordinary work on the dark night of the soul, and it has applications to the unique situation in which we find ourselves—a global, collective dark night of the soul. We may not know what God is doing, where he is going, how he is getting us there, or when this will be over.
But I do believe there is one thing we can know: This is potentially a deeply transformational season in which God empties us of things hindering the inflowing of his life into the depths of our being. This dark night of loving fire is his invitation to allow him to lead us by another road, cultivating a lifestyle of a more contemplative, a more patient, a more silent waiting on him, offering Jesus space to invade us during this season. Why? He wants to do something extraordinary in us, so much so that we may not recognize ourselves on the other side.
Here are a few of the things he might be doing in us:
1. Our goals perhaps disappear next to the one overarching goal that begins to mark our leadership—a simple prayer of desire for him (Ps. 42, 63).
2. Our worship of God matures beyond our feelings. We finally move beyond relying on good feelings or worshipping them, to worshipping him alone.
3. We are freed from unhealthy attachments. We experience God’s love that strips us of even good things that keep us from him.
4. We become more comfortable with not knowing. We find ourselves resting more easily and leading more freely, trusting that God is in control.
5. We shed layers of our false self. Layers of our counterfeit self are shed. Something truer, that is Christ in and through us, slowly emerges.
6. God protects us. God knows our giftings and dreams and dangerous without seasons of Him stopping us to do deep work on our interior life, pulling out the roots of impatience, envy, anger—to name a few.
7. God is preparing us for a higher degree of love for him. God wants to wean us from the world (1 John 2:15–17) and lead us into a deeper, richer communion with him and other people.