daniel troy carmichael

musings and ponderings

An Epiphany of Dark-Ness: the crisis in my soul

from http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbninquiry.asp?r=1&ean=9781573833790

This book has taken either first or second place in my life as Best Book Read (not including the Bible, of course). The other one is Wild at Heart.


(written 3/14/2008)

You are at the doctor's office for a routine checkup; you feel normal and nothing seems amiss. Clinically, yet also somehow filled with great compassion, the doctor then informs you that, while you feel fine, you will be dead in 90 days. You are terminally ill, don't know it, and there is no cure....

Is this good news or bad news?

Think about it. You had no idea, but suddenly find out you will die very soon. Is that good news or bad? I think it is good news. The truth is, you were going to die anyway, but now you know! Now, even if the outcome is the same, you can live differently the last bit of your life! You are armed with the truth and are no longer ignorant of your situation.

This is similar to how I've felt the past week. About ten days ago, on the first Monday of this month, I found our that a lot of plans I had made pertaining to earning a living were not going to happen as expected. Several different things unraveled all at once and left me feeling...well, let's not go there.

As I fired up the prayers for our situation and began the job hunt, the old curl-up-into-the-fetal-position-and-suck-your-thumb panic and anxiety feelings were right there. But I seem to be fighting this battle differently than I have in the past. I may be on the verge of a New Strength...


A good friend of mine sent me a book several days later, Kruger's Across All Worlds (ISBN 1-57383-379-7). It has been like the pronouncement of a terminally ill condition upon my life, in a good way, and for the first time in my life I am seeing that I...cannot see. The battle I struggle with is, "Will I trust the Father?" The job situation, as bad as that may be, is not the core issue. My trust in the Father is. I have known for quite some time that if I could just trust/love/know the Father, I could be content in all circumstances. But why is it so hard for me to make that happen in my soul?

The epiphany I am undergoing has to do with the outcome of the sin nature in my life and my complete inability to see outside of my darkness and pain without the Son showing me the Father. I'm not where I would like to be, but I believe I am now on the path. Here are some quotes from Kruger that have grabbed my attention (often paraphrased):

  • "I have given my life to God," shouted Saul [before he became Paul], "and Jesus has the audacity to tell me I don't even know God!?" p.2

  • We want Jesus to repent. We want him to drop his vision of God and affirm our own mythological creation of god. Jesus won't. So we live in the crisis of his presence.... The crisis is a crisis of vision. p. 4

  • "... No one knows the Father but the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him." (Matthew 11:27)

  • The problem of sin and reconciliation is far larger than the issue of our being lawbreakers.... The deepest problem of sin is that it makes us utterly incapable of knowing the Father..... And without knowing the Father's heart, we have no basis for real assurance or hope in our lives at all. If we cannot see His face, we have no possibility of living in the freedom of His abounding love, and in the security and joy of His lavish and eternal embrace. p.8

  • The great disaster of Adam and Eve was not simply that they sinned or were disobedient to a divine rule. The disaster was that in believing the lie of the evil one they became blind.... their perception of reality became skewed, so skewed that they could no longer perceive the real truth about God or about themselves..... Sin is about losing our right minds, such that we are no longer able to see the goodness and love of the Father, and thus no longer free to live life in His unearthly assurance and blessing. p.9

  • We have tarred the face of the Father with the brush of our own angst. p. 21

  • Adam projected his pain onto God, thereby creating an entirely mythological deity, a figment of his own baggage. But this figment was nevertheless frighteningly real to Adam. p.22

  • It would be far easier if sin were merely a legal matter... But such a view ... fails to answer the fundamental problem: What kind of forgiving God could be satisfied with having the guilty legally clean, yet so trapped in their wrong-headedness and anxiety that they cannot possibly receive His forgiveness and live in His joy? p.23

  • Reconciliation is not about Jesus suffering punishment so that the invisible, faceless, and nameless god up there somewhere can forgive us. It is about the Father's forgiveness in action, entering into our estrangement and its hell, and penetrating the fundamental problem of sin. p.29

  • Jesus himself is sharing with you... "Trust me. Dare to doubt your vision of god. Believe in my Father and His love.... Get up, stand on your feet, and live in the joy of my knowledge of the Father's heart." Jesus meets us in our fallen minds. p.45

  • Herein lies the crisis of our existences. Jesus Christ loves us too much to leave us lost and doomed in our mythology. Yet his presence inevitably exposes our living as bound in darkness and death.... Such exposure hurts like hell. p.52

  • Jesus is not a co-dependent savior. He does not need to be needed. He will not reach into our souls and take away the pain.... To wave the magic wand would be to utterly annihilate us as free-willed persons. God grants, treasures, and guards the reality of our distinctness p.63

  • He will not sweep us up and take away our pain. But neither will he forsake us in our mythology.... We live in the crucible of response. p.65

  • Left to ourselves we would be free only to choose what our fallen minds perceive. p. 67

  • But to receive the love of the Father, to know it, to experience its joy, we must face what is keeping us from believing. We must repent and believe, our fallen minds must be undone and restructured in truth. There is no other way. It is no use wanting heaven without facing our hell. p.70

  • The strategy of evil is to attack your vision of the Father's heart. The devil is not a gentleman. He has no intention of playing fair. His aim is to destroy any proper notion you have of the Father. p.75

  • The pain is telling you that the Father's Son has found you in your darkness and that you are not living in the Father's embrace, and that your life can be different. p.78

  • As long as we think we can carve out our own way, who is listening to grace? ... It is the ones who know they cannot make it who get to see the Father. p.82

Succinctly, there is no way out of the darkness that is my end unless Jesus shows me the Father. Jesus, show me the Father and let me know Him fully as I am fully known by you. I dare to doubt my mythological vision of god; show me God as he truly is: loving, kind, gracious, compassionate, and, oh, so much more than I have ever dared to believe! And, for those who may read these words after me, let them, too, have their mythological vision of god shattered and displaced by a more full revelation of God the Father.




note: Thank you, Garry, for sending me this book. Jesus has reached across all worlds to find you and I in our darkness.