• Richard Parrish

Dark Nights



You may have heard the expression “A dark night of the soul.”

The phrase is often understood as experiences in life that are difficult. I think it’s fair to assume that we don’t escape life without struggle.

We recognize that there are seasons when we have more questions than answers, experience more suffering than joy, and encounter more problems than pleasure.

When the weight of trials crushes our soul, hope seems obscured!

It’s in those moments that the phrase “dark night of the soul” gives language to our emotions.

This expression is attributed to a 16th-century Spanish mystic and poet, St. John of the Cross. In his poem, he narrates how darkness encourages our soul toward a spiritual union with God.

Isaiah speaks to Israel – who is experiencing their own dark night: “Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God?” (Isaiah 40:27)

The point is, even in our darkest moments, God’s light shines, illuminating our path, and giving us direction when we cannot see clearly.

Possibly, you have a challenge that is perplexing you. Maybe, you have more questions than answers. The good news is: God’s light of hope is shining – even in your darkness.

Isaiah reminds Israel – and us:

“The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless.” (Isaiah 40:28-29)

Weariness of the soul does not discriminate. “Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted.” (Isaiah 40:30)

If you – or someone you know – is encountering a “dark night experience” the best thing we can do is to “wait for the Lord.” (Isaiah 40:31)

Our strength is discovered as we wait on the Lord. We cannot soar until we have sufficiently stayed in the presence of God.

Praying for you!


Are you looking for a place to receive spiritual direction and encouragement in these challenging times? Please consider joining my mailing list. Each Wednesday you’ll receive my latest blog posts with practical content designed to support you in your life and faith.


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