“I’m convinced that the only people worth knowing are those who’ve had at least one dark night of the soul. Now, a dark night of the soul is completely different from simply having a very bad night… Recovering addicts and alcoholics sometimes refer to this as their ‘bottom’ but it happens to almost everyone, at some point or another. It’s that life-changing moment when everything you’ve always wanted to become, everything you actually are, and everything you know you’ll never be, all slam into each other with the deadly force of three high-speed trains. It’s the night of your reckoning, the terrifying moment when your mask falls away and you’re forced to see what’s actually been festering underneath it all these years. You finally see who you really are, instead of who you’ve always pretended to be.”
--Kristen Johnston in “Guts”
And I am also convinced that the very best worshippers are those who are in the very midst of their “dark night of the soul.” The dear friend who continues to wade through one financial setback after another, all while facing the grief of losing two family members in the past year, the single mom who faces the challenges of maintaining a godly family in a very ungodly world, the parents navigating the mine field of life and death boundary issues with their adult children who have made really bad decisions, the family who gathers around one of their own who, due to a tragic accident, is responsible for the death of another, the list could go on and on.
These folks are facing faith shaking dark nights of the soul… there are no more masks, no more pretending… hopes and dreams are dashed… the future is frightening, and yet they raise their hands and tear-stained faces to God in worship. It is truly a sacrifice of praise, and it’s the kind that’s most dear to the heart of God. Psalm 56:8 even says that God keeps a record of our tears—as if he keeps them in a bottle. They are so precious to him.
As I see people who I know are facing unthinkable life challenges reach out to God during worship, I am touched with the thought that they are the truest worshippers. Any of us can sing and dance on a good day, but those who do it during a dark night of the soul are accomplishing something truly miraculous.