More Dusky Hour Reflections…

In my last post (My Dusky Hour of the Soul), I discussed some passages from Tim Farrington’s A Hell of Mercy.

I’d like to share another here, a passage that really resonated with me in this time of wondering and waiting…BigPayoff

 What the dark night shows us, through the intensely resisted revelation of our spiritual bankruptcy, is that we have been in the game for the payoff… We’ve been hoping for peace of mind during our golden years, a solid foundation of spiritual capital, security, and a 9 percent return on bliss. But now the bottom has fallen out of the market. Our spiritual checks are bouncing. (p. 71)

Oh, how I relate!! I posted earlier (Bargaining with God (Who, Me?)) how aware I was of this very phenomenon in my life.      

But, now, I am even more conscious of the fact I’ve been “in the game for the payoff.”

nervous breakdownI recall during my sophomore year of college, I suffered an emotional breakdown of sorts and entered the campus infirmary (I had an infection and fever as well).  The infirmary staff kept me there until they knew I was on the rebound, both physically and mentally.

Anyway, upon leaving the infirmary, I headed over to the dorm room of one of the spiritual leaders on campus to seek counsel. I will never forget her words upon my sharing the recent struggles:law 1

“God has a wonderful plan for your life” (or something to that effect, though I doubt she quote Law 1 of the 4 Laws to me). 

In any case, I believed it. Those words (and the subsequent friendship with this woman) encouraged me more than you can imagine. I needed to know someone had a plan for me.  I needed to know someone liked me, too.

It’s only recently that I’ve seen that I am angry at God for not giving me the wonderful life I thought He had planned (I suspect we had different plans in mind all along).

goodlifeThough I talk a lot about the benefits of suffering (again, in terms of repenting and growing closer to God), at some level, I expected God to deliver on that wonderful plan with something tangible, not just something spiritual (and even that seems to have been lacking lately).

I’m embarrassed to tell you what I now realize I thought that good life entailed, but it did NOT include four years of an unemployed and unhealthy husband, exceedingly (for me) difficult job and church situations, and a loss of the type of community which has made me feel loved most of my Christian life. And it did include some sort of “spiritual payoff.”

vending machineI don’t think I saw God as a cosmic Santa Claus or Vending Machine, here to serve me if I inserted the correct spiritual coinage. It was/is more subtle than that.

Rather, I saw Him as my loving Father who intended to take care of His child, to ensure that His child had a good life. 

Any of you parents know how self-centered kids can be are… Well, I realize that in a real way, in my relationship with God, I was very much like a child, very egocentric.grow up

It sort of makes me sick. 

Maybe it’s time to grow up.

More reflections to come…


5 thoughts on “More Dusky Hour Reflections…

  1. This week’s message at church was on freedom. So I’ve been thinking about the story of Acts 16 (Paul and Silas are thrown into jail, there’s an earthquake, the guard’s about to kill himself when Paul says, “don’t worry we haven’t left”). What kind of freedom did Paul and Silas live with, that lets them be so calm after being beaten and thrown in jail?

    We often forget that in Jesus’ first deceleration of who he was, he said, “[God] has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed” (Luke 4:18)

    God’s goal isn’t moralizing or giving us more stuff. God’s goal isn’t a bigger house, a nicer car or prayers said in Latin. It’s to set us free!

    I’m not free yet. Not like Paul and Silas anyway. But I want to be. And that’s what I am working towards, with Jesus’ help.

  2. Jesus said something along the lines of anyone who doesn’t come to him like a little child cannot enter the Kingdom of God. So don’t sweat the “it’s all about me” mentality. For you, it really may be all about you.

  3. As somebody else had mentioned in the previous comments section, I always appreciate and enjoy your posts, even when they are few and far between (feh, like I have room to talk about that). 🙂

    Continuing to pray for you, and hoping that you continue to persevere, and learn, and grow.

    I don’t really feel like I have anything useful to add to the conversation — I wish I did. When I look back at the darkest and scariest and most hopeless and helpless seasons of my own life, I see that a lot of really bad crud was jettisoned in the process, and ultimately I felt a greater intimacy with Jesus — mainly in the sense that I really had nothing and nobody else to turn to. He’s the only one who has never, ever failed me, in the truest sense.

    But I’m not even sure I could explain what I mean by that, since as you note here, there is no real “payoff” I can point to when I say that Jesus has always been true. I guess that at some level, way beyond our five senses, He is the only one that really and truly satisfies. But that sounds either mystical and obtuse or sort of happy-clappy cheesy, and in reality Jesus is actually neither of those.

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