|Who is blind but My
servant, and deaf like the messenger I send? Who is
blind like the one committed to Me, blind like the
servant of the Lord?
BEYOND THE WILDERNESSES we
have considered so far lie still drier and more testing
times. The Dark Night of the Soul is the extreme form of The
Wilderness of Preparation. It is characterized by the
apparent loss of all the blessings we associate with being
close to God – and it may last for a considerable length of
Towards the end of 1987 the Lord began to unsettle us. In a
rather dramatic way He showed us that we would shortly be
moving from Chester to south Shropshire. It happened like
this. We had just returned from a mission to Pakistan, and
had set out for a short drive in the country. On our way, we
felt the Lord leading us to drive on and visit Ludlow. By
the end of the day, we were convinced He was telling us to
As we drove back to Chester, the Lord directed us to visit
some friends. It turned out that all day long they had been
getting the words: ‘Robert and Roz, Ludlow, Robert and Roz,
Ludlow.’ They had even dug their atlas out to find out where
Ludlow was – yet we ourselves had had no intention of going
there when we had set out that morning.
|Confirmations flooded in, as the Lord signposted our
forthcoming departure. It was important for Him to do this
clearly because, as a ‘Levite’, there were no career
advertisements for me to apply for; I had no choice but to
follow His leading. God had spoken, we were willing to obey
– but nothing happened! I will never forget waking up one
morning and feeling a great bleakness inside. It was as
though I had pulled back the curtain and was looking out on
a sea of fog. ‘It will pass,’ I thought hopefully. But it
didn’t. This strange sense of inner bewilderment lasted for
several months. Strong fears assailed me, particularly at
vulnerable moments, such as late at night or early in the
By His grace this darkness was primarily a private matter,
and did not particularly affect my public ministry. It was
profoundly disturbing! I was concerned to know why I found
myself in such spiritual darkness. Had I given Satan some
hold over my life? The best of us can think of plenty of
reasons why God might choose to stay away for a while!
Satan has a vested interest in pursuing such promising lines
of self-condemnation. But since God will not fail to warn us
when we really have sinned, it is rarely worthwhile spending
too much time asking ‘Why?’ We are probably in no better a
position to grasp the reason for our suffering than Job was,
in which case it is wise to skip the tricky questions. Were
God to explain the purpose of a trial it would destroy its
object anyway, which is to draw us into an ever-deepening
attitude of trust. Better to use the sense of emptiness as a
challenge to seek God – and to concentrate on loving others
For the time being it felt like playing ‘Hide and Seek’,
with God doing most of the hiding. Augustine neatly sums up
what sounds at first like an unfair paradox: ‘O God, You
seek those who hide from You, and hide from those who seek
The ‘greyness’ drove me to seek God ever more urgently. By
the end of most days I could look back and see that God had
indeed done something precious in the course of it. But by
the following morning – there would be the greyness again!
|There were, of course, breathing spaces; rather like those
times when the sun breaks through the clouds and bathes the
countryside in its golden light. For the most part, however,
I felt deprived of His comforting presence and the day to
day awareness of His leading – and I missed this very much
Making Sense of the Dark Night
Him and He won’t be found; He turns a deaf ear to my
sighs and moaning.
‘Tell me who You are and what You want,’ I say to
‘Make Yourself known and then let me die.’
I am uncontrolled almost to the extent of being rude
I end up by calling Him cruel, but immediately
afterwards beg His pardon.
Some of the things I say are prompted not by anger
but by so much love.
My reason for sharing this
experience (which often lies towards the end of the Ascent
of Toil) is to help others to make sense of feelings which
seem totally bewildering. More than we are usually able to
appreciate at the time, the ‘dark night’ is a well-charted
path that many have walked. Originally used by the Spanish
mystic John of the Cross, the ‘dark night of the soul’ is a
term which has become widespread to describe prolonged
periods when our senses are shut down to the point where we
can no longer feel the Lord’s presence.
Let me stress again that this is entirely different from the
darkness we experience in the ‘Wilderness of Sin’ which
comes as the result of our own stupidity. During a ‘dark
night’ experience, prayer is dull and Bible-reading an
Verses that once lit up to us in a haze of glory now appear
wreathed in a sea of mist. Worse still, disturbing lusts and
other feelings we had thought long since dead and buried
return to plague us. During these dark nights, any
inordinate desires we have been nursing (or trying to
suppress) seize their opportunity and surge to the fore.
Until we go through such testing times we may have thought
we were quite good people at heart. As Benjamin Franklin
wryly observed, ‘He who falls in love with himself will have
few rivals!’ The dark night strips away the veneer of pride
and pretence from our soul. By the end of it we will be as
convinced as Paul was that there is nothing good that dwells
within us. Even our so-called abilities now appear to be
little more than pomp and posing. The giftings of others, by
contrast, shine out clearly. Henry Suso reminds us of the
value of these times:
difficult prayer is more pleasing to God than one
which is easy and tranquil. The grief and pain of
one who tries to pray in vain, lamenting his
inability to do so, makes him a victor in God’s
Whereas we may have
experienced the Lord coming close in the past to share ideas
and directions with us, now He guides us from afar. It is
rather like the moment when a father decides that his child
is old enough to be left to walk for himself without needing
constant support. But the father is still there, should the
|Precious understandings concerning the sovereignty of God
are put to the test. ‘Surely,’ we told each other, ‘if the
Lord is still guiding us so accurately in the smallest
details of our lives, He must be in control of our bigger
needs!’ And He was. When we really were in danger of taking
some wrong course the Lord worked with surprising speed to
again we proved the truth of the promise in Isaiah
30:21: Whether you turn to the right or to the left,
your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying,
‘This is the way: walk in it.’
When the difficult time finally passed, and everything began
to flow again, it took a while for us to regain our
confidence. The Lord did not need to say much about the
issues that we thought were the most important. What He was
seeking to develop in us through the darkness was a greater
|When it comes to His
closest friends – His mother for example – He tests
their faith by keeping them waiting for the miracle.
At Cana of Galilee, when His mother puts the
difficulties of their host before Him, He tells her
that His time has not yet come. He allows Lazarus to
die when Martha and Mary have sent warning that he
is sick. Why shouldn’t our Lord treat me the same
way, by keeping me waiting first, then satisfying
all the dearest wishes of my heart?
(Thérèse of Lisieux)
It is precisely these delays
which challenge our patience. It is the easiest thing in the
world to handle these times of darkness and dryness in the
wrong way and to allow anxiety and even depression to enter
our hearts on the back of the greyness. To see dismal
circumstances (or indeed our own soul) without the Lord’s
covering grace can be a most discouraging sight. If we do
not handle this right it can lead to despair. As François
Mauriac reminds us:
|The road to
perfection skirts the abyss of despair. To the very
end, despair remains the temptation of those who
have not retreated in the face of Christ’s command:
‘Be ye therefore perfect as also your heavenly
Father is perfect.’ Not to despair, but to persevere
in the attempt, is the definition of that heroic
virtue which marks the saint.
At all costs we must resist
the temptation to draw back. As Ignatius of Loyola insists,
this is not the time for making important decisions:
In time of desolation one should never make a change, but
stand firm and consistent in the resolutions and decisions
that guided him the day before the desolation, or to the
decision which he observed in the preceding consolation. For
just as the good spirit guides and rejoices us in
consolation, so in desolation it is the evil spirit which
guides and counsels.
I infinitely prefer those times when I feel close to God. I
am reassured of His love, given insight into why He has
allowed certain things to happen, and am far more confident
about which course of action to adopt. In short, I am
refreshed by what the old writers used to call ‘God’s
consolations.’ Such consolations can, however, be rather
like sunbathing on the beach: deeply enjoyable, but not
necessarily very profitable. By contrast, our dark times
provoke a much sharper longing to seek God’s face and to
fulfil His purposes for us. As Jean Vianney put it,
|When one has no
consolations, one serves God for Himself alone, but
when one has them one is liable to serve Him out of
love for self.
Nothing is more nourishing
than pure faith, and the prayer that is offered in naked
faith is real prayer. As Carlo Carretto explains it,
|‘It is precisely the
renunciation of all desire to satisfy the senses
that makes prayer strong and real. One meets God
beyond the senses, beyond the imagination, beyond
This is crucial: as long as
we pray only when and how we want to, our life of prayer is
bound to be unreal. It will run in fits and starts. The
slightest upset – even a toothache – will be enough to
destroy the whole edifice of our prayer life.
[As a novice master told him when he was young,] "You must
strip your prayers. You must simplify, de-intellectualize.
Put yourself in front of Jesus not with any big ideas, but
with living faith. Remain motionless in an act of love
before the Father. Don't try to reach God with your
understanding; that is impossible. Reach him in love; that
The struggle is not easy, but after some hours – or some
days – of this exercise, the body relaxes. The will becomes
passive. The senses go to sleep. Or rather, as St. John of
the Cross says, the night of senses is beginning. Then
prayer becomes something serious, even if it is painful and
dry. So serious that one can no longer do without it. The
soul begins to share the redemptive work of Jesus.
Discerning a Dark Night of
The struggles we wage between soul and body, mind and
spirit, frequently baffle philosophers and psychologists
They are clearly intended by God to be our special dilemma;
the backcloth to our lives, and our particular training
ground for eternity. So what is the difference between this
‘inner bleakness’ we have spoken of and medical depression?
Many pastors and doctors have wrongly equated the dark night
with depression, and made an entirely false diagnosis as a
result. We need some sort of a ‘litmus’ test to help us
discern whether someone is backsliding, going through a time
of depression or experiencing a genuine dark night of the
The symptoms may indeed appear similar, but the causes are
quite different. Depression turns people in on themselves,
depriving them of normal feelings and desires. During a
genuine dark night of the soul, by contrast, our desire to
be close to the Lord continues unabated: we simply no longer
feel able – or worthy – to do anything about it.
Following John of the Cross’s own counsel, we may suggest
that if a person’s desire for God remains constant however
far from His presence they may be feeling, then the chances
are that they are experiencing a true ‘dark night’ rather
than something of their own making. Only if they are being
drawn to some other person or pursuit are they in actual
danger of backsliding.
To see the true direction of our heart perhaps we need look
no further than at how we spend our leisure time. If we find
ourselves routinely rearranging our timetable to accommodate
something we would feel embarrassed to mention in the
presence of other Christians, then it may well be that it
has come to assume too large a place in our lives.
Dry times also have the virtue of testing the reality of the
truths we so glibly pronounce: in other words, the degree to
which we are willing to live out the spiritual truths that
trip so lightly off our tongues. Mourning the apparent
absence of God can, paradoxically, be powerful evidence of
our love for Him.
Not every troubled patch we go through, of course, is a dark
night of the soul. It may rather be something in our past
that needs sorting out, or some attack of Satan which needs
to be withstood. We will benefit by sharing what is going on
in our spiritual life with someone who is more experienced
than we are in the ways of God. They may well be able to
diagnose what we dare not for ourselves: that everything is
fundamentally all right beneath the outward upheavals.
After several months of inexplicable battering, it was a
great comfort to us to meet John Sandford, one of America’s
leading prophets. The Lord gave John a clear word for us
that we had been passing through a dark night of the soul,
and that God was leading us to a land that would be
‘endlessly evergreen’. It was a great encouragement to be
able to put a label to what we had been going through, and
to know that we were still on the right track.
John warned us that the way into this land would lie across
a bridge so narrow that the only way the Lord could take us
across safely was with a blindfold on. Why did we have to
travel by such a precarious route? Perhaps the answer lies
in part because an easier journey would have caused us to
lose the sharp edge of our dependency.
Another aspect to what we experienced then, and on
subsequent occasions, is that there is strong satanic
opposition to overcome when we are on the brink of embarking
on something significant. We need a robust and vigorous
faith to overcome the many pressures that assail us at such
times. In the dark places of our soul, the Lord is
separating the wheat from the chaff, and sharpening the
focus of our desire for the King Himself. Not just on our
latest project but on the need to love more perfectly. For
love is the essence of the Kingdom.
I am coming across more and more people who have been
through this refining process. The sands of aridity have
left their mark on them. In place of presumptuous attitudes
we find a deeper gratitude and a stronger hope. Less
dogmatic and bombastic than they used to be, their lives
reflect something of a dying man’s delight in the ordinary
things of life – and a simple desire to bless the people
that they meet.
God Comes in Disguise
now is the joy of Your presence, which I seek above
everything? . . .
‘I shall and shall not be with you.
I shall clothe you in My grace,
but you will think yourself deprived of it,
because while dwelling within you I shall be able to
I am concealing Myself from you
so that you may discover by yourself
what you are without Me.’
(Margaret of Cortona)
If we are tempted to ask
ourselves what the Lord gains by ‘hiding’ Himself for so
long, the key lies in looking at the fruit that comes from
these testing times: the ‘treasures of darkness’ we referred
to earlier. There came a time when God left King Hezekiah
for a while to find out what was in his heart (Isaiah 45:3).
This too may be part of His dealings with us.
The host of heaven observe us closely during these dark
night experiences, longing for us to keep trusting in the
Lord, despite our daunting circumstances and our inner
Suppose you have a friend who supports you in some practical
way, perhaps financially. One day, without any prior notice,
this support ceases. The temptation is to feel let down,
resentful even. Imagine your embarrassment when you discover
that it had only been a ruse. Your friend has simply found a
different way to support you, amounting to at least as much
as before. This is a picture which hints at the way the Lord
works in our lives.
Just as the reality of His Lordship was hidden from most
people while He was on earth, so He conceals His power and
presence from our hearts for a season. It is as though He
cloaks Himself in darkness to disguise many of the good
things He is doing for us – even though it feels for all the
world as though we are being made into a spectacle before
both men and angels.
The Lord Jesus does not necessarily care for us in the same
way year after year. He changes the reference points that
have, in the past, afforded us security. All this is part of
His disguise, just as He appeared in changed form to Mary
Magdalene in the garden after the Resurrection, and to the
disciples on the road to Emmaus. He still insists that we
behold Him with the eye of faith: the King of Kings, the
Lamb of God, the Shepherd of the sheep, Emmanuel, the
Morning Star, the Living Bread, the Son of Man, the Son of
God, the Alpha and Omega. May the Lord help us to take hold
of these words He addressed to His disciples: I tell you the
truth: it is for your good that I am going away (John 16:7).
|So much, perhaps, is
comforting and enlightening. But what do you make of
these two explanations of dark times?
Often it is the Lord’s will that we should be
persecuted and afflicted by evil thoughts, which we
cannot cast out, and also by aridities; and
sometimes He even allows these reptiles to bite us,
so that we may learn better how to be on our guard
in the future.
(Teresa of Avila)
|Whenever the feeling
of grace is withdrawn, pride is the cause. Not
necessarily because one has actually yielded to it,
but because if this grace were not withdrawn from
time to time, pride would surely take root. God in
His mercy protects the contemplative in this way,
though some foolish beginners will think He has
turned enemy to them.
(The Cloud of Unknowing)
Surviving the Drought
|No one would
complain about the troubles that happen to him if
they knew the scales on which they were weighed.
(Rose of Lima)
When our inner life is being
shaken, it helps enormously if we can keep our outward
routine as stable as possible.
Whether we are in a dark night of the soul, or are suffering
from depression, what we will really benefit from is someone
who will stand alongside and support us through our
bewilderment. The last thing we need is cajoling to ‘pray
more’ or to attend more meetings. To tell a person who is
going through a dark night to ‘try harder’ is like urging a
man who is suffering from a broken leg to go for a good
But people may not always be available for us. This is why
we must put down tap roots so that we can continue to draw
up water for our soul during these seasons of drought,
drinking deeply of the truths we have come to know and trust
over the years. No matter that they no longer light up for
us with a golden hue; the Scriptures have stood the test of
time, and His specific promises to us too will be fulfilled.
We must meditate on them, and take in all their goodness.
Time in the great outdoors can help to refresh our troubled
minds. Music and poetry too can soothe weary spirits, and
hint at meaning beyond our immediate pain. Mysterious though
His dealings with us may appear to be, there is nothing too
difficult for the Lord – and nothing too small for Him to
attend to either.
Stay until you leave!
During the difficult transition period we experienced
between leaving Chester and reaching Ludlow I had a dream. I
was trying to swim out to sea, but a warm tidal current was
sweeping me in the opposite direction up a river. I knew
instinctively that the best thing to do would be to yield to
the current, rather than fight against it. The implication
was clear. The Lord knew exactly where He was taking me: my
job was to trust myself to His leading.
By temperament and nature most of us prefer to swim rather
than to float. We have been taught, almost from the cradle,
that if we want to get anywhere in life, we have to be ‘in
control’. True, nothing is accomplished by sitting down and
putting our feet up. I am not advocating drifting idly
through life, let alone setting off to do our own thing.
Such a course of action would be sure to land us on the
rocks, or in the grip of dangerous currents. I am speaking
rather of responding positively to the Lord’s longing for us
to trust Him more fully, and to yield ourselves more
wholeheartedly to His leading.
Most of us could walk along a plank of wood thirty
centimetres wide, almost with our eyes shut. By that
reckoning, surely we should be able to stroll successfully
across that same plank were it to be stretched between two
high buildings? After all, the plank would still be as wide
as it ever was – but all we would think of then is just how
narrow it is. Yet we all know the gap between theory and
reality. The increased sense of vertigo that comes from
being in high places (and dealing with issues of
far-¬reaching importance) calls for steadier nerves. When I
followed the Lord’s leading to Chester I was a single man,
with only myself to consider. Yet the Lord can care for a
family as well as He can for a single person.
Which of us find times of waiting easy to bear? Our hearts
are eager to embark on the new thing the Lord is promising
us and we find it hard to focus on the here and now. John
and Paula Sandford teach a golden rule concerning such
transition times: ‘Stay until you leave!’ In other words,
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might
(Ecclesiastes 9:10). If we are faithful with the
opportunities the Lord gives us today, then He will go ahead
to prepare all our tomorrows. If we do not follow this
advice, however, we may find ourselves beginning to live for
some mythical moment when ‘everything will happen’.
Sadly, some become impatient or frustrated, and leave their
job, town, relationship, church or ministry. The devil does
his level best to make us opt out (or to stay put when the
Lord is telling us to move on). But God also uses these
attacks to measure our willingness to persevere. Our flesh
screams out with the intensity of the conflict. We feel like
Charlie Brown as he made his way to the information desk and
demanded, ‘Where do you go when you want to give up?’
|Near the end of his
life, Winston Churchill returned to Harrow, his old
school. To everyone’s amazement, his entire address
lasted less than a minute – but each person who
heard it will surely remember every word: ‘Young
men, never give up. Never give up, never, never,
never, never give up!’
Beyond the Darkness
When it is all over,
you will not regret having suffered;
rather you will
regret having suffered so little,
and suffered that
little so badly.
When we emerge from such
periods of darkness, they will not seem to have been a
moment too long or a jot too costly.
By stripping us of things that had perhaps meant too much to
us, the Lord has prepared us for the greatest gift of all:
being able to walk more closely with Him.
However much we may have failed Him, He will not fail us.
There is no trial or situation that is beyond the reach of
God’s love. Jesus is willing to go to incredible lengths to
rescue us from every wilderness, and to restore our souls
again to peace. Peter had to come down off the Mount of
Transfiguration to minister to needy people. Mary Magdalene
likewise felt great joy when she saw first the angels and
then her Risen Lord – but the Lord did not permit her to
cling to Him. We can only keep our treasure by giving it
It is easy to feel grieved when especially sweet times in
the presence of the Lord come to an end, but we have not
lost Him forever. Standing on a Metro station in Paris after
bidding farewell to the fellowship that had meant so much to
me for the year I had been there, the uppermost emotion in
my heart was a sense of loss, because I imagined that I
would never again meet such lovely people. I was singing
under my breath, ‘O Jesus I have promised, to serve Thee to
the end.’ For a moment I was caught up into heaven and
thought I heard an astonishing echo: ‘And I have promised to
serve you to the end’. How great He is, that He stoops down
to serve His children!
To drive with confidence in the fog, however, is not easy;
it strains every part of our being. Similarly, if the Lord
entrusts us with a dark night experience it will rank among
the most gruelling episodes in our lives. It may, however,
be an indispensable stage in our spiritual training. In his
brilliant Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis shows that the devil
fears nothing so much as a person who looks around a
universe from which all traces of its Creator appears to
have vanished, but who resolves to go on trusting in the
We are reaching the heart of a great mystery here, which, if
we can but grasp it, will help to make sense of many of the
detours and delays we experience, and save us from much
distress and anxiety. Like the psalmist we can declare: Your
path led through the sea, your way through the mighty
waters, though your footprints were not seen (Psalm 77:19).
How long will such dark nights last? The only honest answer
is: as long as it takes. The Lord alone knows the right time
to rescue us. Just as some are tempted to presume they have
been through a dark night when they have not, in reality,
been anywhere near one, so we may also be tempted to suppose
that we have come through it before we really have. The
drought does not necessarily break with the first shower.
God had simply provided us with oases in the desert before
the sand closes in again around us.
One of the great wonders of nature is how a downpour of rain
can cause the barren desert to blossom into riotous colour
overnight. Just beneath the surface the dormant seeds are
lying, waiting. So it is that when the grace of God is
poured out, the Lord can accomplish a great deal in a
surprisingly short space of time. We are at once reassured
and cheered when we again become conscious of His presence
with us; just as the disciples were when they saw the Risen
It is only when we forget that the victory has been won that
we become anxious. Jesus is still there, and God’s purposes
for us have not altered. Something has changed in our heart
however. The removal of the normal inward flow of the Spirit
in our lives has made us eager to pray more seriously, and
to do anything that will help to restore us to a sense of
His presence. We become less preoccupied with outward goals,
and more concerned to say, do and even think such things as
will bring glory to the cause of the Kingdom.
Whereas we may have been quick before to categorize and to
label, the Ascent of Toil has made us less willing to judge
people by appearances, and more concerned to love and serve
them. Perhaps, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer suggested, we should
‘regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to
do and more in the light of what they suffer.’
As we reflect on how faithful the Lord has been to us during
our times of trial, so we see that these apparent absences
are intended to make us less inclined to doubt the reality
of God’s love for us in the future. When we look back over
these periods we will see that at the time when God appeared
to be doing least, He was really doing most.
As light dawns again we cry out ‘How blind I have been! Why
did I ever doubt Him?’ We are ashamed of our angry outbursts
and the complaining spirit that has marred our union with
the Lord. We resolve that we will trust Him more fully next
time, and so bring joy to the Lord and His angels.
|In Athanasius’ Life
of Anthony, the saint entreated the Lord who had
appeared to him in a vision:
‘Where were You? Why didn’t You appear in the
beginning, so that You could stop my distresses?’
And a voice came to him: ‘I was here, Anthony, but I
waited to watch your struggle. And now, since you
persevered and were not defeated, I will be your
helper forever, and I will make you famous
Just as the Father sent
Jesus, so He is sending us too (John 20:19-21) – whatever
this means in terms of mission or career. For us personally,
the end of the dark night coincided with the door opening at
last to enable us to move safely and swiftly to Ludlow, in
Fifteen further action-packed months went by in Chester,
during which we benefited from that special grace the Lord
so often gives when people sense you will not be there much
longer, and are in consequence more willing to open up.
Suddenly the Spirit moved, and the call became a commission.
We were free to start looking for a property. Even then
there were several months of heartache and frustration
ahead: we could find nothing that we either liked or could
When I was invited to Ludlow for my first speaking
engagement, I resolved that I would concentrate on the
matter in hand and not confuse the issue by house-hunting.
As I went into the meeting, the Lord whispered in my ear
that He had a work for me to do there and that if I was
willing He would be with me. On the way out of the meeting
He spoke again, telling me to go and look at one particular
house. To my delight and amazement, the house in question
had come on the market just two days previously. It was
ideal for our purposes – and the price was identical to our
own in Chester.
Eleven hectic weeks later we had moved to Ludlow.
Although it is by no means automatic that we will experience
a ‘dark night of the soul,’ it is important to be able to
recognize one. The following poems help to sharpen our
understanding of God’s purposes during these dark times.
Shining out of Darkness
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan His work in vain:
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.
Hound of Heaven
‘All which I took from thee I did but take,
Not for thy harms,
But just that thou might’st seek it in My arms.
All which thy child’s mistake
Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home:
Rise, clasp My hand, and come . . .’
Halts by me that footfall:
Is my gloom, after all,
Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?
‘Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
I am He whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me.’
Lord, You see us in our times of utter darkness and despair
– but You see beyond them to the wonderful things You have
in store for us.
Thank You, Father, that You will keep our hearts focused on
Guard us from the deceptions and distractions that tug at
Use us, Lord, to remind others that their darkness, too,
– and to encourage them to hold fast to the Lover of their
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
1. Quoted in The Wisdom of the Saints, Jill Haak Adels (O.U.P.).