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Monday, May 04, 2009

Devotion: Faith in the Darkness

“Thank God we don’t serve God with our feelings, otherwise I don’t know where I would be—Pray for me.” Mother Theresa

A few years ago people were surprised to learn that Mother Theresa struggled to feel God’s presence in her life. For nearly 40 years, she felt a “darkness” from God. Eventually, she was able to say that her faith went deeper than her feelings.

Too often I believe that we look for a heightened emotional experience to know that God is really with us. We want a song that swells up tears, a book that tugs at heart, that weird prickly sensation; we use these sensations to validate God’s existence. For Mother Theresa, one of our era’s most iconic religious persons, to claim that we don’t serve God with our feelings, we can hopefully be free of these expectations. If we expect to always feel God, we will be on endless pursuit for that next spiritual high.

If Mother Theresa experienced times of darkness, yet continued to serve God with every ounce of her strength, what holds us back?

It is interesting to me that during the darkness Mother Theresa continued to lean upon the prayers of her confidants and community. Rather than validating her feelings—that God must not exist—she strengthened her faith by believing that God’s presence is more than her feelings.

Feelings are fleeting while faith is enduring.

“You know that the testing of your faith produces endurance 4 and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:3-4.

Have you ever experienced a darkness of faith in your life?

What/Who did you lean on?

What ways may God be testing your faith to strengthen it?

1 comment:

Mary said...

When I have a hard time with my faith, I look at what I know is real. I know I am alive, I think, I will die. From this I make meaning.