However, the phrase refers not just to a condition, but to a stage in a progression. Though it is shadowy, it carries in itself the hope of redemption from itself.
Most people associate it with the 16th-century mystic St. John of the Cross, who wrote an elaborate poem on the subject.
Surprisingly, it is a journey toward, not away from, God. People nonetheless perceive it as a crisis, sometimes of catastrophic spiritual proportions. It’s characterized by an acknowledgement of what feels like hopelessness up against the backdrop of often-elusive faith.
What a paradox! The sense that there is no door of escape in a house whose very foundation, timbers and roof are the bulwarks of a faith just beyond your soul’s fingertip’s yearning and reach.
How many people have undergone this wrenching experience? Only God knows. But we do know of those who have written about it. For C. S. Lewis, it felt like a door, slammed shut in his face, locked and bolted against him, specifically him.
I think of it as the realization one day that your love letters no longer have a destination. Or that all the chickens of one’s fears have come home to roost.
The hope? I find my hope in