Early morning, before dawn, I love the quiet.
I love the peace.
I love being the only one awake in the morning.
Still sleepy, I stumble through the house. Not yet ready to acknowledge that my day started, I don’t want to turn on the lights, but my mind is busy with all the preparations of life in the sunlit hours. Laundry to wash, food to prepare, heart to quiet.
Why is “heart to quiet” always the last on my mental list? I don’t even realize it’s not quiet until I notice myself distracted, anxious, and short tempered…and it’s not even light out and no one else is awake.
Thankfully, He calls me.
Gently, quietly, persistently, he calls me to come away with Him. Sometimes that means sitting with my journal, other times it’s pouring over scripture, but today, he called me to the keyboard. Not sure where to start or what to write, I look out the window at the blackness and think once again about the beautiful way God uses creation to point to Himself and remind us of His faithfulness.
It’s black now, but dawn will come.
It comes every day.
The seasons change, the time of dawn and dusk changes, but it still comes; as faithful as He is yet dictated by Him.
For my birthday last year, a dear friend gave me “The Dark night of the Soul” by St. John of the Cross. Not easy reading, by any means. In fact, I’m barely halfway through and it’s a not a long book. Although it’s hard to get through, I love it. I love that a Spanish, Carmelite monk from the 16th century could write a poem (and exposition on it) that speaks Truth to me 500 years later. It’s given me a new love and appreciation and understanding for the dark nights in my own soul. I’m learning not to despise them or see them as something merely to endure, but rather to see them as a place to meet an infinitely mysterious God.
This mysterious God in the dark night isn’t necessarily a comfort and doesn’t give cozy feelings of love and protection. In fact, at times, His absence is more profound than His presence. But His lurking presence is there.
Like a black hole that can’t be seen but draws everything around it in; that’s God. Like Aslan chasing Shasta & Aravis in “The Horse & His Boy”—dangerous yet there for protection; like Aragorn in the “Lord of the Rings” sitting in the corner of the Prancing pony– menacing yet somehow good… that’s this “dark night” God.
As light begins to break and this day will start whether I’m ready for it or not, I give the day and the nights ahead, once again, to You, my mysterious, chasing, pursuing, sometimes-silent, but always good, God.
I will exalt you, O LORD,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
O LORD my God, I called to you for help
and you healed me.
O LORD, you brought me up from the grave;
you spared me from going down into the pit.
Sing to the LORD, you saints of his;
praise his holy name.
For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may remain for a night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.
When I felt secure, I said,
“I will never be shaken.”
O LORD, when you favored me,
you made my mountain stand firm;
but when you hid your face,
I was dismayed.
To you, O LORD, I called;
to the Lord I cried for mercy:
“What gain is there in my destruction,
in my going down into the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me;
O LORD, be my help.”
You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.