Spraying living water into a garbage can

Someone once gave me their idea of what a new Christian’s life looked like. They described a garbage can being cleaned by a pressure washer with the stench of decaying garbage filling the air and bits of rotted debris flying everywhere. It was quite a disgusting visual. If the new Christian is serious, however, this is exactly what is happening to him or her. The Holy Spirit comes and floods the garbage-filled sinner with living water and out comes a lifetime of garbage.

Today I am starting a series about the place of darkness, suffering, trials and pain in the life of a Christian. I have been reading Dark Night of the Soul by early church father, St John of the Cross because I have been experiencing a dark time in my life. As I go around cyberspace and read blogs from around the world, I find that many are in dark places and so I think what I am learning may be of benefit to someone other than just myself. If you think you may be one of them, please join me and please jump into the discussion. I am happy you came.

John begins his book talking about new Christians–beginners in the walk. He talks about how God holds these fragile ones to His breast as a mother will hold a newborn baby to her breast to make sure they get the milk of the Word. Somewhere along the way, however, the baby must leave the lap of the mother and begin to stand on their own. For some this is difficult, for others it is not. If the Lord sees someone is not doing well, He may draw them back for more supervision. Those who show promise in venturing out on their own, however, He moves along.

St John of the Cross says we all need refining and fall into the devil’s traps along the way, but some fare better than others. John describes those He moves toward the dark night as the humble ones who do not grow prideful in their spiritual growth, “having very little satisfaction with themselves, they consider all others as far better, and usually have a holy envy of them, and an eagerness to serve God as they do.”

“These souls desire to be taught by anyone who can bring them profit.”

“They rejoice when others are praised; they grieve only that they serve not God like them.”

“They have no desire to speak of things that they do….They are more anxious to speak of their faults and sins…with those who account their actions and spirituality of little value.”

“These souls will give their heart’s blood to anyone that serves God, and will help others to serve Him as much as in them lies.”

“Souls who in the beginning journey with this kind of perfection are, as I understand, and as has been said, a minority,…God leads into the dark night those whom He desires to purify from all imperfections so that He may bring them farther onward.”

“God gives grace to the humble,…even as He denies it to the proud.”

After having put this altogether here, I am not sure my hard time is the dark night of which St John of the Cross speaks because I have such a difficult time dying to self. Nonetheless, this is a good study and so I will continue to put things together around this theme from time to time (as He enlightens me), hopefully, at least weekly.

Something to think about from St. John of the Cross on this Walk with Him Wednesday with Ann,



10 comments on “Spraying living water into a garbage can

  1. I am so glad you are addressing this difficult topic. I pray to walk with more of Him in me than the day before. But what human truly desires the darkness? And at the core of who we are, doesn’t every human desire the words “well done” even if we are simply adjectives to The Noun?
    Looking forward to reading more here. I’ve said it so many times. . You truly do sharpen me and make me think.

  2. This subject is much needed. I am even seeing, in my circle of Christian friends, the need for such an uncovering of Truth…that there is sometimes suffering and dark times in the walk as a follower. Did we expect taking up a cross would be a walk in the park? At times, I think I have. And we are often led to believe every darkness is an indication we’re God’s enemy. Wouldn’t this have made Paul one of God’s greatest enemies!?!

  3. I wish to post another letter from Danielle, the young mother come down so suddenly with stage 3 and perhaps stage 4 breast cancer…this comes as close to your dark night of the soul as I can think, and the fruit it brings in a heart yielded to the working of God’s grace. Be blessed…

    by Danielle
    NewLife – A New Beginning~
    The outside does wonders for my inside.
    I find Power there beyond me. Being surrounded by nature, I am grounded and elevated at the same time.
    I am just as overcome with wonder, taking in the majesty & vastness of the colossal, as I am beholding the majesty & vastness of the intricate.
    Here I find Truth.
    When I need to hear, when I need to know, when I need to let it out and then be told… I go to nature.

    It was Thursday, the 19th. It was a good day, all day. Many of my days surrounding this one have been a wild ride of trying to manage my thoughts, even my breathing, as the crippling information never quits.
    On one of these days, the fear, the grief, the anguish of all this uncertainty left me a writhing, wailing, curled-up wreck. Brad held me, cried with me. His beauty in my life, here, now, by my side only intensified the pain! The sounds of Brielle clomping around in the other room on her stick horse took the oxygen from my gut. My fists pounded, my cries never enough to release what I was feeling. I was wigging out!!! I felt strangled and trapped, abandoned and lost. I had nowhere to go. There was nothing down there. The darkness just stayed dark. I was emptied of everything.
    I had nowhere else to go… but up.
    Fear is so dark, so consuming.
    Hope, Truth, Love is greater still, and is available in the exact. same. moment!
    So I began again to face, to embrace, to accept, to learn, to rely, to release, to fight & surrender, to give it over & take it on.
    And so came Tuesday, a day to breathe, then Wednesday, a day a stranger asked if he could pray for me in the grocery store, then Thursday, the day I went outside.

    The sun was shining low and gold. I didn’t have energy to walk far, so I decided to drive myself to a little patch of trees close to our place. The pickins are slim around here for beautiful places to walk. This would do.
    I had my headphones, I had my music, and I had Hope. I jumped out of the Jeep and hit play. Took a biiiiiiigggg breath in of the cold! It felt so good! One Republic busted out “Good Life”. The band center stage in my head! I started my walk down the snowpacked trail. I pretended I was alone in a deep forest, no one for miles around, just me and the birds, the air, the wonder, and the band.
    The song starts out with drums bumpin out happiness, then keyboard lays down blankets of notes, the guitar strings fill in and then, the whistling, lah-ha-huv the whistling! My heart smiles! I skipped a bit down the trail, till my music player bounced out of my pocket and I fumbled wildly & saved it just before it hit the snow. I simmered down the jauntiness and wound my way down and around.
    Blond grass glowing in the sun, being strummed by the breeze. Snow sparkled, microscopic mirror shards, reflecting blues, purples and whites all at once. Berries pruned up but still beating red, clung on to scraggly branches.
    I came to a clearing just as the song gets into it’s belt-it-out ye-ahhhh part. The sun was shining through the trees, its warmth on my cold skin. I stopped and lifted my face to it. I pretended there weren’t 10 homes with their living room windows facing me. It was just me, this clearing, this circle of towering trees. I raised my hands to heaven.
    I was being healed! I knew it. If not this tumor, my heart, my life, was being healed! The song had me twirl around. I spun around, head back, smile wide, watching the tops of the trees swirl above me. I stopped. Arms spread out, and there, right in front of me, in the tree tops, I saw my reflection… A cross, carved out of the heart of the tree top, stood, arms spread out, arms to heaven.
    I was overcome! Hot tears spilled over!
    This has all been taken care of! There is triumph over the grave! Nothing, nothing, can ever separate me from Love! And no one can ever take that moment from me. He showed up! He too bore the weight. He too wanted this cup taken from Him. He too felt forsaken. He too surrendered… And He was lifted up!
    He was in me. I was in Him.

    The burden was lifted. I handed it over. I left it there on that trail, at the foot of the cross.

    “Let children walk with Nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life.” ~ John Muir

  4. I HATE THAT!!!! That we have to fall into those traps to get the refining – that we need the refining to shine – I don’t doubt the truth – but I hate that we are so broken – I hate that this world is so broken – that that’s the way it has to be. and I assume there will be more – and I assume you let me know – because I don’t want to miss a single post. I heart it just Dawn – I just hearted it to pieces! Yay John of the Cross – Yay Dawn, swimming, keeping your nose above the water line, though the trials float downstream and keep hitting you – I’m glad I know you! God bless and keep you Dawn, and your hubby, and your little purebred muttlies. I just finished a prayer. 🙂

  5. You know, Craig, we are all more broken than I ever realized. The devil must hate this book, because St John is blowing the cover off all his tricks.

    Oh, and I know you are praying because I feel quite a testimony unfolding as I continue to walk in obedience through the “problem-solving” process at work (It’s their word for grievance.) I post each move on my 280Daily to keep track of the miracles to share with all of you prayer warriors at the victory dance at the end!!!!!!

    God’s grace to even one who flunked spiritual avarice,

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