Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Discipline of Darkness

This selection, from February 14 of My Utmost for His Highest, has spoken to me more than once. I have read portions of it in several books before actually reding it in the context of this daily devotional; it seems to me to be perhaps the most profound statement Oswald Chambers makes in this collection.

At times God puts us through the discipline of darkness to teach us to heed Him. Song birds are taught to sing in the dark, and we are put into the shadow of God's hand until we learn to hear Him. ... watch where God puts you into darkness, and when you are there, keep your mouth shut.

Later he states:

...darkness is the time to listen. When you are in the dark, listen, and God will give you a very precious message for someone else when you get into the light.

The whole idea of listening in the darkness reminds me strongly of St. John of the Cross (died in 1591; co-founder of the Discalced Carmelites with St. Teresa of Avila)and his idea of the "Dark Night of the Soul" - a time of testing and refining when God robs us of pleasure in our relationship with Him, testing us to make certain that we are worshiping Him not for ourselves. but totally and completely for His sake. We are to go through this "Dark Night" on faith, learning to trust God for the joy of worship, the peace of prayer, to return when we are transformed more into His image. St. John of the Cross reminds us that not everyone goes through this "Dark Night," but it is reserved for those who are especially devoted to God. (A great excerpt of St. John of the Cross can be found in Richard Foster's Devotional Classics.)

Oswald tells us to use this time of darkness to learn to listen. St. John of the Cross tells us to use darkness as a time for faithbuilding and trusting in God when we get NOTHING out of our private devotions for ourselves. Darkness is a time for us to be more conformed into the image of Christ; it is not easy, but it IS a blessing. One definitely "in disguise."

1 comment:

Dancingirl said...

I enjoyed (not exactly the right word, but it will have to do) your meandering for today.


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