There’s a scripture God gave me at least 12 years ago from Isaiah 37. Once more the remnant of The kingdom of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above. It captured my attention, but I wasn't sure why. A few days later, I walked into a coffee shop that had wallpaper that said roots below and fruit above.
God got my attention that day. I still didn’t know what He was saying though. Soon after I entered into the second 'dark night of the soul'. The words “once more” are personal for me because I had already experienced a dark night of the soul in my thirties.
St John of the Cross wrote a book in the 16 century called The Dark Night of the Soul. It can be described as a profoundly painful and purging time that leads to a transformation that brings us into a new harmony with God. Peter Scazzero calls it Hitting The Wall in his book Emotionally Healthy Spiritually.
Let me cut to the chase here. The valleys form you like nothing else will. The valleys will shape you into the unique expression of God the He created you for.
So, when we talk about roots below and fruit about, we’re talking about our spiritual formation. It’ll bring you closer to God, open your heart even more, and forms a deeper connection. Thus the roots. It's in encounters like these we are changed and conformed to the unique purpose God has for us in a particular season. If this process was just for us personally, it would still be worth it. However, it’s also for others. Are you seeing it yet? The Christian life is both hidden in Christ and for society.
So, why isn’t this spoken of as a normal part of the Christian experience? Why don’t we tell these stories to the next generation? I think it can shed light on a very difficult time in our life. They’re stories that should be told. Yes, they’re stories of descending but they’re also stories of wisdom, love, and transformation.
While I hate going through the valleys, troubles, and dark nights, I do love what happens in my soul. When I can see the light again, I notice my soul has come alive in ways that mountain top experiences can’t do.
Did I mention the increased inner connection? The kind of connection that happens just by tuning in and going inward where Jesus is living. It’s so good you may actually prefer the silent abiding to worship music playing in the background.
Ok, maybe that’s just me ….
Nobody prays for valleys per se. And yet, we do pray to be used to bring glory to God. We pray for greater impact. We pray for opportunities. Those dark nights and valleys are God's way of answering our prayers. Remember, It's in the variety of experiences that Christ is being formed in us.
May this short post, help you embrace your own spiritual formation. If you'd like more information on this subject email me at wholenessinpractice.com