I cry out, O God, but you do not answer. I stand up, but you merely look at me. (Job 30:20)It's easy to understand why Job had a "dark night of the soul". He had enjoyed many blessings: prosperity and family and health -- and respect. The blessings were all taken away. He suffered punishments or curses or destructions that he had not deserved. His accuser had wondered: Had Job only loved God because of his easy life? So every shred of ease and comfort was taken away from him. But there are those who have easy lives who still have the same despair:
Meaningless, meaningless. Utterly meaningless. Everything is meaningless! (Ecclesiastes 1:1)This is often thought to have been written by King Solomon. He had wealth, power, ease, prestige, home, family. He had achievements to his credit. His name and reputation would long outlast him. He had every worldly blessing. And he found them all meaningless.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Psalm 22:1)Now that may be the most famous of all the dark verses of the Bible. King David may have voiced it first, but most strikingly, Jesus voiced it from the cross.
When we don't talk about the "dark nights", I think we do ourselves and each other a disservice. We think we're alone. We don't realize that the dark nights may actually be where we have the most company.
A man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. (Isaiah 53:3, on the Messiah to come)
(For those wondering -- the occasion for writing is a friend at church who pulled me aside this morning because he has been going through a season of dark nights. And he knows that I've struggled with that too, so he knows he can talk to me when he is going through it himself.)