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I know a preacher who claims to be clinically depressed for over 15 years. The same preacher (who’s been in and out of counselling and on and off antidepressants for years) claims his depression is evidence of the dark night of the soul that certain believers have to go through to achieve union with God.
I call hogwash.
There is no evidence in scripture that believers have to endure a dark night of the soul. In fact, Jesus tells us that God’s Holy Spirit will be like a wellspring continuously refreshing and renewing us from within. He tells us his yoke is easy and his burden is light. Jesus himself gave no evidence of any form of depression, and neither did any of his genuine followers. Even Paul, who probably suffered physically more than any believer at any time, never mentioned any bouts of depression, let alone one that lasted over 15 years.
If you by chance have a few minutes to waste, do a web search on “dark night of the soul”. The concept is steeped in Catholic mysticism (that is, white-washed demonology) and describes a state of spiritual crisis in which the sufferer feels completely and utterly separated from God while journeying toward full union with God. I don’t know where you are in your journey home as a born-again believer, but I’ve been journeying now for nearly 22 years, and I have never experienced anything remotely resembling a “dark night”. God says he’ll never leave us or forsake us, and if God is always with us through his Spirit, how can we be depressed? How can we experience a dark night of the soul?
The Truth is, we can’t. Born-again believers don’t go through a dark night of the soul. Unbelievers do (I SPEAK FROM EXPERIENCE), as do those who worship something other than God, or those who might have some level of belief in Jesus but also have a heavy burden of sin on their soul. Genuine reborn followers of Jesus live in the light. There is no darkness in the light that surrounds and permeates born-again believers, because that light is the light of God, and scripture tells us there is no darkness in God. He is perfect light.
If someone you know claims to be Christian while also claiming to be experiencing a dark night of the soul, tell them they’re full of hogwash. And then tell them if they really want to know God and really want to follow Jesus, they need to repent and believe the Gospel. The Gospel gives zero evidence of a dark night. What they’re experiencing in their depression is the manifestation of sin on their soul. Unrepentant sin will give you more than one dark night, and it will keep you in the dark until you repent. If you die unrepentant, the dark night will never end.
As a born-again believer, you need to steer clear of any form of mysticism, even if it presents itself as Christian. Mysticism is nothing but whitewashed hogwash straight from the pit of Hell.