Yesterday, I saw a quote from Mother Teresa. It said, “When I try to raise my thoughts to Heaven — there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives and hurt my very soul. Love — the word — it brings nothing. I am told God loves me — and yet the reality of darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul… In spite of it all — this darkness and emptiness is not as painful as the longing for God… Before I could spend hours before Our Lord — loving Him — talking to him — and now — not even meditation goes properly… Yet deep down somewhere in my heart that longing for God keeps breaking through the darkness… My soul is just like an ice block — I have nothing to say.”
Sometimes I feel bad for questioning God and his actions or lack of actions but I feel a bit encouraged that even Mother Teresa, one of the most well-known Christians of all time also had her own struggles of faith. If I read just that portion I would question whether she still was a Christian or if she had somehow lost her faith but later in her writings, she comes to realize that the very darkness is something she grew to love. She herself says, “I have come to love the darkness. For I believe that it is a part, a very small part, of Jesus’ darkness and pain on earth.”
She came to relish the darkness for the opportunities and lessons it brings. The times of darkness may not be easy but that is when we see the greatest growth spiritually, mentally, and even physically. Just like working out in the gym leads to fitness and muscle growth. Working out in the darkness creates faith, strength, and trust in God. Instead of avoiding the tough times or rushing through them, we should enjoy them. We should soak them in and make sure that we experience everything God has for us in those seasons of darkness. When things are at their worst we can ask God what he has for us to learn through this experience. The darkness brings the greatest opportunity to know God. When things are overwhelming we can trust God to guide us through. If we lean into the darkness we will come out stronger, more complete, and more faithful on the other side. As a result, we should learn to appreciate the darkness, the challenges, and the struggles that we face in life because they are a necessary part of helping us build our faith and our trust in God.