Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Dark Nights of the Soul

Psalm 13

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I bear pain in my soul,
and have sorrow in my heart all day long?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? 
Consider and answer me, O Lord my God!
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
and my enemy will say, “I have prevailed”;
my foes will rejoice because I am shaken. 
But I trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.

over and over in the scriptures
I hear your servants pray, 
"How long, O Lord?!"

In the dark nights of my soul,
I join my voice in this plea,
"How long, O Lord!?"

The feelings of inadequacy.
The desire to get it right, 
and the falling short.
The longing to make a difference, 
but the inability to see if any difference has been made.
Teaching and preaching with passion,
but does it change anybody's thinking, or way of living.
The gifts of a emphatic compassionate heart 
willing and able to hear the burdens of others, 
to pray with the burdened other, 
and yet too often feeling the burden as my own.

All this continues to be a place 
of much need and much prayer
not just for me, but also for many of your servants.

I read an article today (linked below) that reminded me:
I'm not the only one who feels this way.
It also reminded me of your word of encouragement to Elijah.
The prophet is scared and alone on the mountain running from Jezebel:
A voice to him that said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He answered, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.” Then the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus... I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” 
-- I Kings 19:13-18
In other words, Lord,
you encouraged Elijah saying
you still had work for him to do,
and that he is not the only one left.
Indeed, there are 7,000 whom you have kept for yourself,
so keep going.

because you are with me,
I'll keep going, keep listening, keep serving,
keep teaching, keep preaching...
Who knows how many you have kept for yourself?!
Thanks be to God!

The above prayer inspired by a post I resonated with entitled: "WHY CHRISTIAN LEADERS STRUGGLE WITH “DARK NIGHTS OF THE SOUL" By Chuck Lawless

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