One morning several years ago when I was thanking God for the delight of His presence, I heard a voice say, "If you seek Me for the way you feel in My presence, it is no different from any other soul-realm passion." I had never thought about my relationship with Him in those terms before. God was saying that if I pursue Him simply for the pleasurable experience I have when He makes Himself known to me, then my enjoyment of Him is dictated by my feelings.
After this encounter I experienced a season of dryness--called a "dark night of the soul" by 16th century mystic John of the Cross--during which it seemed as if God was not there. This season was especially difficult because for years prior to it I had walked in an almost continual awareness of His presence. Now, suddenly, I sensed nothing.
During my "dark night" I realized that on our path to spiritual maturity, we don't go from mountaintop to mountaintop. We have to walk through valleys as well. Even after we have arrived in our "promised land" we may experience spiritually dry times. read more