At the Threshold: Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There
by administrator | Jun 6, 2012 | Contributors
questions: Why do you hurry? Why do you hurt others? Why do you ignore the empty gas tank? Why are you angry? He waits for our response. And for the duration of the time it takes us to be aware of our own heart-answers, he waits. He is in no hurry, as much a surprise to us as it was to the psalmists. They never questioned that suffering existed, they just wondered how long it would last.
Passive faith is relinquishment faith. Surrendering faith. Lamenting faith. “How long oh Lord,” and “Why have you forsaken me,” and “Remove this cup, this thorn of my flesh, from me” are passive faith cries. Eugene Peterson says it like this: “I will to not will what I am already good at in order that what is more than me and beyond me, the will of God, can come into existence in my willing work.”18
In dark nights we need to act “against instinct,” we need to do what is “counter-intuitive.” Competitive spirituality — the spirituality that has shaped us to this point — is now actually working against us, for it pushes us to do more and try harder, precisely what we should not do in dark night experiences. We need to detach, slow down and reflect. In his excellent book, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, Richard Foster devotes a chapter to prayer practices for dark night times. Dark night disciplines would include:
As in the discipline of new mentors, in the discipline of expanding theology we again find ourselves listening for new voices. With new mentors we pursue new life patterns; in expanding theology, however, we pursue knowledge, but knowledge that is mediated to us through either new experiences or through natural expressions that we squelched for whatever reason and now need to resurrect.
18 From the chapter, “Is Growth a Decision?” in the book The Contemplative Pastor, p. 102.
The Crucible of Threshold Times: Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There Page 12