A couple years ago I shared my experience of enduring a spiritual storm, a crisis of faith. Since then I’ve had the privilege of corresponding with numerous precious saints who are enduring similar storms.
A common experience is that after the initial blast of the storm, it often takes a long time to regain a sense of spiritual equilibrium. A friend wrote me recently essentially asking me how long it will take to “get past this” to feeling normal again. I thought I would share my response to him in case others of you are finding yourselves asking, “How Long, O Lord” (Ps. 90:13)
Thank you for the update. Yes, I remember well. I would say it took me a good year from the time I experienced an initial breakthrough until I really felt my spiritual equilibrium was more “normal.” Changing metaphors, if the initial crisis was a massive earthquake, I felt aftershocks for a long time. And some were strong.
My experience is that God brings deliverance from these things gradually. Because his purpose is to strengthen faith and character. A different analogy: it is similar to endurance and strength training. It’s the adversity of the struggle that builds spiritual understanding, muscle, and endurance. And it generally takes longer and is more difficult and painful than we imagine at first.
One last analogy. Remember Frodo in The Lord of the Rings? He is stabbed with the Mordor blade of the wraith king on Weathertop. It almost kills him. But thanks to the divine healing gift of Elrond the elf lord, the evil poison is removed. However, for the rest of his life, Frodo still sometimes feels the icy pain in the scar.
It’s like that with such wounding as you and I have experienced. I still feel the icy pain occasionally in the scar. But it has become a reminder of grace and a reminder to set my hope on God and his promises. It is a reminder that I walk by faith and not sight.
I will pray for you. The Lord will not forsake you. It is he who will get you past this. Keep following Jesus who endured Gethsemane, the trial, the scourging, the cross, and death for you.
He showed you that sometimes the path of faith takes you through indescribably deep darkness. He is not asking you to endure what he has not already endured—and infinitely worse. And he showed that you can trust the Father, whose will sometimes is that you drink a cup you really wish you didn’t have to drink.
But it’s only because there is joy unspeakable and full of glory for those who do.
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13).
Grace be with all of you who are struggling now.