My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46)

I stared over the edge of a precipice that dropped into despair. Behind me was the theory of peace with the God who cared. Wavering between the pit and the theory, I asked that God would speak. The returning silence sickened my heart.

With my toes over the edge, I examined thought trails down the cliff—did I have a purpose? Was joy snuffed by pain? The more I thought, the less clear was the difference between the silent God behind me, and the void of puzzles below. Insanity seemed the natural conclusion of reasonable contemplation.

It’s called the dark night of the soul. Both classical and contemporary teachers speak of times when God withholds his presence and forces us to depend on the promises of Scripture alone. It can last for days, months, even years. Often, the reasons our loving Father chooses to subject us to spiritual vacuums are only revealed much later.

For me, the nearness of Jesus flowed through the fuel line to my spirit until I took it for granted. When a bubble of deprivation slipped into the line, I sputtered and reeled, sucking on the air of my own thoughts. Too much thinking about me is always perilous. I experienced the pointlessness of life without an awareness of the Holy Spirit.

Teetering on the brink of that abyss, I smelled rancid breath calling me downward. It horrified me out of complacency. I fell to my knees and begged God to whisper. Then I waited, and waited some more.

The faintest movement of hope blew and I said, “Good enough, I’ll take it.”

Prayer: Father, may I never go into that night again, but if I do, even then will I trust you.