Monday, April 14, 2014

Faith in the Haze

Have you ever felt like you were in a spiritual haze? It could be just a season, or maybe it's after a failure. Perhaps for months now you've been sad, depressed, melancholy... joy seems far and God seems farther. Or maybe it's right after a failure: you had drank deeply from the broken cistern of your favorite sin, and even though you've confessed and repented you still feel the familiar darkness and distance from God that lasts for days. Does that describe your experience?

Sometimes Christians go through these seasons, these "dark nights of the soul". We don't feel the same intimacy with God when we approach His Word. We don't feel closeness with friends. It could be a few days of wallowing in the feelings of guilt over your failure, shame over your weakness. It could be months and months of difficulty and dragging discouragement.

So what do you do? How do you get through the haze? How do you respond when the darkness doesn't leave, and Satan is having a field day accusing you after your failure? How do you respond after a failure when you're spiritually groggy and unclear, without that fight in your belly? Or even worse: How do you respond when you're in a spiritual haze in general? Where there seems to be no good reason for the darkness?

Answer: Live by faith in the haze. That's how you make it. Remember the gospel, remember God's character, remember what's true, and BELIEVE it in a deeper way. Latch onto it and CLING to it with everything in you. Fight!

Three practical encouragements for living by faith the haze:
  • This haze will pass - Honestly, it will go away. God is faithful, and behind the dark cloud that hides Him, there is a smiling face. He LOVES you, not because of your good behavior, but because of Christ. He doesn't hate you for your sins, and He will not punish you. He has ALREADY punished Christ in your place. So be patient, and wait for the haze to pass. It may take a few days, it may take months, or it may take until you die and enter in the joy of God for all eternity... but it is temporary. Meditate on Psalm 27:14, and wait for the Lord. 
  • Believe God's promises, not your feelings - 1 John 1:9 says that if you confess, you are forgiven. But you don't FEEL forgiven!! It feels like a hollow promise. But you must BELIEVE that it is true, regardless of your feelings. Tell your feelings to take a hike. FIGHT. Get violent and LAY HOLD onto the promises of God. Scream them out loud. Believe them with force. The gospel still holds power even if you don't feel it this moment. Micah 7 is a fantastic anthem. 
  • Force feed yourself the Word - You may feel distant from God, and like the Bible is just black words on a white page. Nothing. Lifeless. But sober up, Christian, and read that Word all the same. Read it like it's the antidote to the poison in your veins. Don't wait until you get hungry to start eating the Word. Read it, like your life depends on it. 
Trusting in God in the darkness,
The Relentless Fight

PS: John Piper wrote a short book called When The Darkness Will Not Lift. It's free for PDF download, and it's an excellent encouragement.