Today’s picture is divided into TWO PARTS in order to highlight two different perspectives on the ‘dark night’ of the Christian soul: Part 1 (the darker one) corresponds to Ps.22:1-2; Part 2 (the lighter one) corresponds to Ps.22:9-10.
Picture 1: Ps. 22:1-2, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.’
Picture 2: Ps.22:9-10‘Yet you are He who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts. On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.’
In the midst of the soul’s ‘dark night’ (be it besetting doubts, restless fears, oppressive thoughts, depths of sorrow, etc), we often find our hearts breathing the words of Psalm 22:1-2….‘Where is God? Why can I not find Him? Why is there no relief to my pain? I am utterly and finally alone.’ This is how it feels in the midst of the night, and I’ve tried to express that in the first image above.
And yet, for the one casting themselves on God in Christ, there is another perspective on this same dark night…A perspective enabled by the steadfast love of God in Jesus. How does that work? Well, consider that the first verse of Psalm 22 is the verse that Jesus cries out in His agony on the cross. In that moment—which, happening within the eternal Spirit, transcends and embraces all moments, Heb.9:14—in that moment, God in Christ descends in love into *every* dark night of His people’s experience, into *every* godforsaken pit of depression, into *every* valley of oppression, into *every* dungeon of doubt…He descends into those places and embraces them in His own experience of them.
AND THEN He rises up from them. Yes, He rises up from the depths and carries the depths with Him into the heights so that these very places of darkness—now invaded by the light—are places where God Himself will meet and hold and carry His people in Christ.
Which leads to the second passage and the second picture. From our ‘inside’ perspective, the dark night of the soul is total and oppressive…but from the Lord’s ‘outside’ perspective (which is the true one), He holds us—by His sovereign and love-wounded hands—He holds us in the midst of our night, which is, as it were, only a dark cloth tied for a time over our eyes. Yes, the God who forms us in and carries us from our mother’s womb, enters into the darkness of our suffering and so turns our Valley of Death into a Womb of Life, a womb from which He Himself will surely draw us out to Himself through the birth-pangs of Calvary and the delivery of Resurrection Morning.
The second image in this series is #912, and can be downloaded from Arweave here.