Night is often seen as synonymous with sin and evil; of an absence of God’s presence. St. John of the Cross wrote a classic book detailing his spiritual crisis titled, “The Dark Night of the Soul.” But “night” is also a time when followers of Jesus cry out to Him, when we acknowledge our deepest longings, our most fervent hopes and dreams, our inner angst and fears, our anger and frustration. Many followers have been told not to let God know we are angry or afraid–but truth be told, God already knows. And God can handle whatever our thoughts or emotions might be. Our faith becomes stronger when we ask God to journey with us through the night of our turmoil and troubles of life.

Author Bruce Demarest in his book “Seasons of the Soul” shares this illustration. “In 1991 Texas oil billionaire Edward Bass built Biosphere 2, a hermetically sealed glass terrarium near Tucson, Arizona. Eight scientists from seven countries lived in the dome in order to learn whether humans could replicate Planet Earth’s complex ecosystem and thrive in an artificial environment. The glass dome seemingly had everything common to earth’s environment: oxygen, insects, simulated rain forest, soil for growing food, and so on. The scientists were encouraged when plants and trees in the atrium grew more quickly than others in the wild. But they were perplexed when many fell over before reaching reproductive age. After studying the problem scientists concluded that absence of wind in the terrarium produced trees with much weaker wood than similar species in the wild. Biosphere 2 illustrates the fact that strong headwinds are necessary to produce hardy species. The trials and suffering we experience in this life ultimately make our character and souls stronger as we journey toward heaven.”

Good and gracious God, help us to come to you in the night time of our souls, as we struggle to understand your will or to sense your presence with us. Be near us and turn our mourning into dancing. In the strong and loving name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Rev. Sue Beadle, Christ Lutheran Church, DeForest

Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.”

John 3:1-2