|Dark Nights and God’s Ways
In the journey that God has each of us on – the journey toward intimacy and authority as the Bride of Christ – it is essential to understand the strategies of God, particularly during those seasons when His presence seems hard to find.
The primary promise of God, spoken to the Shulamite in Song of Solomon 2:4, is that His banner of love is over us for the entire journey. In other words, everything He does and everything He permits is about loving us, and drawing us further into His grace and power.
This truth seems the most difficult to grasp when His immediate presence is withdrawn from us for a season, and we experience a “dark night” of wondering, longing, and searching. These “nights” happen for several reasons – the first being compromise in obedience. This is the one most easily understood, but God does not withdraw because He is angry or rejecting us, but rather to draw us back to Himself, to woo us further along the way into His fullness and love.
The more difficult strategic withdrawal to understand is when His presence is taken away, even though we are walking in obedience and faithfulness. The purpose of this withdrawal is to present an opportunity for more extravagant worship and faithfulness, costly adoration, the sacrifice of praise. This costly, worshipful obedience is what Jesus presented to the Father during His dark night of suffering, and because of this He was given the highest place of authority and intimacy at the right hand of the Father. He was proven worthy to have all authority because He was the Faithful Witness during the greatest possible test.
Because God desires to present a worthy Bride to this worthy Son, His strategy is to allow similar – though much less strenuous! – dark nights for us, not because He is not caring or not paying attention, but because He is inviting us to have the same mind as Jesus – loving the Father extravagantly regardless of the season or circumstance.
The result of this kind of extravangant worship is a greater, more powerful revelation of the beauty of Jesus, the magnificence of the Father and of His plan for us. When Jesus suffered the tearing of His flesh, which was the veil between us and the Father (Hebrews 10:20), the full love and power of God was revealed to all who would receive Him. Similarly, when we trust the Father in a dark night, He moves to reveal the beauty of Jesus to us in greater measure, making our hearts lovesick instead of offended, and causing all those around us to desire to know Him as well. The result? Greater intimacy, and greater authority.
Such are the ways of God with His beloved Bride. For a full treatment of this topic, access my teaching from Sunday, February 16 here: http://internationalhouseofprayernorthwest.org/category/listen-to-messages.
You can also order a full series on the Song of Solomon by visiting the BHM store at http://www.burningheartministries.com/Shop.
Be blessed in the journey!