It is in the quiet moments of life many people struggle with being alone because silence brings the ominous quiet that most are unaccustomed to facing. To this subject C.S. Lewis says, “We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.” During the Christmas season many people gather in groups hoping to find peace through activity, while there is a lack of inner peace and or any awareness of God’s presence or the experience of His constant care of the soul life. In contrast to the flurry of activity, Richard Foster calls attention to solitude as a reflective tool as a pathway for soul care and to inner peace.
No one else can lead to inner peace and enable the experience solitude on your spiritual journey except God himself. Nevertheless, this is a time of year when people talk much about “peace on earth and goodwill to men”, but there is little peace on earth and not much more goodwill. Speaking loudly are the words from the spiritual life is that sometimes silence is a necessary discipline to practice on the journey to developing a spiritual identity that brings peace. However, this journey leads to is a place that sometimes becomes the “Dark night of the soul”. Contrary to what it sounds like, the dark night is not a place of punishment, rather, it is a place of spiritual victory and has a purpose of setting freeing people.
A personal insight from life experience is that there are times when God leads us to a place where we have to learn to walk in the dark, so that we will know how to live in the light with natural expressions of faith. When we have a “Dark night of the soul” what do we experience? Our over-dependence upon the emotional life is stripped away and we come to a crisis of faith and belief, which puts us in a posture that we must decide whether we are going to follow our emotional impulses or follow after a life of faith.
Living in a time that has been described as an entitlement culture calls to memory the idea that we may be deceived in thinking that to be spiritual means we are always comforted, joyful, and happy because it is an entitlement. What a vivid distortion of spirituality that leads people to base their lives on how they feel and the phenomenon that accompanies a hedonistic approach to life.
Value to take away from this post is that “The dark of the night is one of the ways God brings us into a hush, a stillness so that he may work an inner transformation on the soul” (Foster). A great paradox that exist here is the inner peace and solitude needed by most will not be found by walking in the glittering lights, it may is found in the “dark night of the soul” when there is enough quiet within to find God’s transforming love in the moments of darkness and solitude that bring peace.