I’ve had mountain top experiences when I’ve felt so close to the Lord that I could sense His calling and direction with great clarity. There have been times when I’ve read the Bible and gleaned great applicable truths that convicted me and pointed me in new directions. I’ve sang with a heart so full of gladness that tears of joy would stream down my face at the realization of my redemption.
Then there have been valley times. Times where it felt like God was silent. When reading the Bible was not only a chore but a bore. I would stumble through passages wondering what in the world I was supposed to get out of it. Many times more confused than when I started reading. I’ve asked questions and found no answers. And I’ve sang words that I didn’t mean, no matter how hard I tried.
I’ve been pure in motive in both the upswings as well as the down..
I’ve been in sin during the upswings as well as the down..
I’ve often tried to figure out the “why” in both places. Why am I experiencing this peak..or why am I experiencing this valley? Because if I could answer that, then I would choose to stay on the mountain top till my dying day.
And here’s where I’m at..and I can’t promise the theological correctness of this..but..I believe God allows me to travel into these dark nights of the soul so that I find Him again. So that I run to Him. So that I learn something new about His grace and His unconditional love. And maybe so that I’ll learn something about me in the process. (Read an excerpt from Richard Foster’s take on John of the Cross’s, Dark Night of the Soul here.)
The beauty of the Bible, whether you believe every word of it or not, is that it isn’t biased toward its heroes. And for whatever reason this consoles me. I take comfort knowing that the giants of the Christian faith had journeys that looked like roller coasters too.
In 1 Samuel 27 we see David visit one of his many faith dips. He flees the promised land BACK into the land of Gath, where he recently showed up and acted the fool. No, literally he acted like a madman (David hits “Rock Bottom” here). Now he’s back but this time with 600 warriors and their families. And now he’s welcomed in. And during a two year span he lives among the pagans raiding nearby villages burning them to the ground. Killing women and children and taking the spoils back with him. All the while lying to the King of Gath about his adventures. He is safe from Saul, but victim to his own discouragement. He is not living in obedience and he doesn’t seem to care. During this time he writes ZERO psalms or songs to God (that are recorded). There is nothing positive in 1 Samuel 27 about David. He has, in a sense, given up.
Can you relate?
Have you had faith valleys where you felt like giving up?
This is one of David’s dark nights..he WILL rebound..just like I will..just like you will..
Take heart..let’s learn in the valley..we’re here for a reason..we just can’t see it yet..