"Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to what is false
and does not swear deceitfully.
He will receive blessing from the Lord."
Welcome to Blairgowrie Parish Church, your community church at the heart of Blairgowrie
Surviving Doubt and Darkness
"Though he slay me, I will hope in him;
yet I will argue my ways to his face."
Dark nights of the soul, when you question what you believe to be true, are nothing new to those who walk the pilgrim pathway; however, sometimes when those whom we put on pedestals or look up to acknowledge their doubts and fears, we are shocked, criticize them or rationalize the depths of their anguish.
Charles Spurgeon, the renowned preacher and expositor of the 19th century. wrestled with bouts of depression so severe that at times he could not force himself to get out of bed. While his ministry far overshadowed his depression, it was there, nonetheless. He once commented, “There is more in God to cheer you than in your circumstances to depress you.” He saw beyond the dark nights of his soul to Him who said, “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” John 8:12.
Mother Teresa, the Albanian woman who is remembered for her work with the dying in the slums of Calcutta, struggled with doubt and estrangement from God through the latter years of her life. In a book entitled, 'Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta,' Mother Teresa’s private letters have been published, causing a lot of people to gasp. Having had some striking conviction early in her work that God wanted her to embark on her spiritual pilgrimage of ministry to the poor, she felt that the heavens closed to her and God went silent. She felt utterly disconnected, unable to feel God’s presence or sustain a relationship with Him.
In an undated letter, she wrote, “I have no Faith—I dare not utter the words and thoughts that crowd in my heart and make me suffer untold agony.” In 1959 she wrote, “Such deep longing for God and…repulsed empty, no faith, no love, no zeal…. Heaven means nothing….”
Long before Mother Teresa’s struggle with darkness, a man named Martin Luther, a hugely influential reformer of the Christian faith in the 16th century also went through dark times of depression.
How did Luther win His battle with depression? Having been trained to think as a scholar, striving to understand everything from a human perspective, he abandoned natural reasons and held tenaciously to the Word of God, seizing it by faith, refusing to doubt his beliefs or believe His doubts.
Apart from absolute confidence that what God says in His Word is true, it is difficult, if not impossible to survive the dark nights of the soul when you wonder if God really is there, and whether or not He cares anything about you. “Be still, and know that I am God,” He says to us in Psalm 46:10.
There are many things that will never be understood this side of heaven, and unless you can lift your eyes above the pain and suffering of this world to the promises of God’s Word, which you can take by faith, you, too, will vacillate and face dark times of doubt. “God will keep his promises,” (Deut. 7:9), but how he keeps them is often quite surprising (Romans 11:33).
The Psalmist wants us to be still so that we can listen to God’s promises so that we can remember that despite our circumstances…despite our rationalizations, deductions, forecasting and negative thoughts, despite the apparent encroaching reality that says, ‘I can’t handle this and God isn’t coming,’ we are invited into the stillness of God so that we can be fed by the Word of truth.
Those who have gone before us as Christ-followers have discovered the secret of journeying through doubt and darkness into confidence in God’s Word. If you are struggling, feed on the promises you’ve been given in God’s Word. Not a word of His promise has ever failed.
Grace and peace,
Dear God our gracious heavenly Father,
Thank you for helping us to make it through this difficult year. Thank you that you’ve carried us through the uncertainty of deep waters, through the flames of trials, and through the pain of hard losses. We are constantly aware of how much we need you, your grace, your strength, your power working through even the toughest days.
Help us to keep our focus first on you at all times. Please forgive us for giving too much time and attention to other things, for looking to other people before coming to you first. Help us to reflect again, on you. Thank you that you came to give new life, peace, hope, and joy. Thank you that your power is made perfect in our weakness.
Help us to remember that the gift of Christ, our Saviour, is our greatest treasure. Fill us with your joy and the peace of your Spirit. Direct our hearts and minds towards you. Thank you for your reminder that both in seasons of celebration and in seasons of brokenness, you’re still with us. For you never leave us. Thank you for your daily powerful Presence in our lives, that we can be assured your heart is towards us, your eyes are over us, and your ears are open to our prayers. Thank you that you surround us with favour as with a shield, and we are safe in your care.
We choose to press in close to you today and keep you first in our hearts and lives. Without you, we would surely fail, but with you, there is great hope. Thank you for your healing power and for holding us in your care and love.
We pray in the name of Jesus,
PRAYERS AND WORSHIP RESOURCES
Opening the Church for Private Prayer
From Monday 20th July our church sanctuary will be open for private prayer each...
• Monday (2.00 - 3.00 pm)
• and Thursday (10.30 - 11.30 am).
All are welcome to attend but you should take account of current Government guidance. Unfortunately, those who are currently shielding or are required to self-isolate cannot yet attend.
Please be aware that we are required to note who attends, along with their contact number as part of the government's 'Test & Protect' measures.
For your safety and well-being, only the sanctuary and vestibule areas will be open with a one-way system in operation along with social distancing measures.
Feel free to bring your own Bible.
To provide some help, prayer points and various prayers will be projected during opening times and quiet, reflective music will be played.
Our teams of volunteers are ready to greet you warmly so please bring a face covering which should be worn while in the building.
We look forward to seeing you as we work at bringing our church building back into use.
Welcome to Blairgowrie Parish Church's website.
We’re a Christian community in the beautiful Perthshire town of Blairgowrie.
We are a church family of ordinary people who have experienced God’s love in Jesus. We seek to live and teach the Christian faith so that people can understand it and respond to the message it offers.
Whatever your reason for coming here – whether you are in need of help; searching for a church; looking forward to your wedding or baptism; exploring faith or simply planning to visit the area – come and visit us, we'd love to welcome you.
Rev Benjamin J A Abeledo