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Dark Night of the Soul

"Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God."1

William Cowper, poet and hymn writer, who lived from 1731-1800 in England, apparently suffered from fits of melancholy and frequent attacks of spiritual despair which led to two suicide attempts.

On one of these occasions, during a time of deep despair and a dark night of the soul on a foggy night he set out from his home in London with the intention of jumping into the River Thames to end his life.

He got hopelessly lost in the fog and wandered blind for some time. Eventually, lost and confused, he walked into a home to get out of the fog. And the home he walked into? It was his own.

He sat down and penned the words of the beloved hymn:

    God moves in a mysterious way
    His wonders to perform;
    He plants his footsteps in the sea,
    And rides upon the storm.

    Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
    The clouds ye so much dread
    Are big with mercy, and shall break
    In blessings on your head.

Dear reader, if you are going through a dark night of the soul right now and it feels that God is far away, be assured he is standing in the shadows and as he knows about every sparrow he knows all about you and he cares.

When we commit and trust our life to God every day, "Weeping may endure for the night, but joy will come in the morning"—even if it is eventually!

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, in my despair let me not grow weary in trusting you, but renew my faith and use my present pain to make me a better, stronger person so I can comfort others as they struggle through their journey of despair and pain. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Luke 12:6 (NIV).


All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.