Listen to this tormented person:
“They say people in hell suffer eternal pain because of the loss of God. In my soul I feel just that terrible pain of loss – of God not wanting me – of God not being God – of God not really existing (Jesus, please forgive my blasphemies – I have been told to write everything)…. What do I labour for? If there be no God – there can be no soul. If there is no soul then Jesus….You also are not true….Heaven, what emptiness – not a single thought of Heaven enters my mind – for there is no hope.”
Mother Teresa was spiritually tormented for most of her life. This was all hidden from the public until her journals were published in 2007, ten years after her death. Apart from a five-week reprieve in 1958, what has been called her “dark night of the soul” lasted from 1948 until her death in 1997, just shy of 50 years. The lack of peace in her soul has puzzled people.
The official Roman Catholic interpretation, which Teresa later adopted, was that she was chosen by God to especially identify with the sufferings of Jesus; what Roman Catholic mystics call the “dark night of the soul.”
I personally struggle to reconcile this reality with biblical assurances of peace upon salvation: Romans 5:1 “….since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God….”
And yet Mother Teresa could write: “I am told God loves me, and yet the reality of darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul.”
Some would simply conclude that Teresa had religion, but not a true relationship. She had no assurance, no confidence in the Father’s love, because she was not redeemed. That could be the case, but contrary to popular opinion Roman Catholic theology actually allows for some measure of confidence in knowing and experiencing God’s love.
Mother Teresa knew of God’s love in her head, academically, but her experience seemed to be largely devoid of it. In 1961 she wrote, “…the place of God in my soul is blank…. the torture and pain I can’t explain.”
Malcolm Muggeridge wrote a tribute to Teresa, saying, “We do have reason to question if her ‘dark night of the soul’ was really from God, or rather from either a tragic story of depression, or an attack from Satan, or both.”
This does not resolve the fact that here was a woman who dispensed so much light despite her inner darkness.
I have read of giants of the faith who suffered with emotional and spiritual pain. Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones wrote a book entitled, “Spiritual Depression.” I have met believers suffering with tremendous emotional pain. I have met clergy struggling to see anything good happening in their lives. The struggle is real.
I would like to introduce you to Fellowship chaplain Allan Gallant. Allan and Bonnie are no strangers to our Fellowship. They have pastored in several Fellowship churches. A few years back Allan suffered a debilitating stroke that radically changed both their lives. Allan suffered a difficult depression. Please watch the following testimonial video and listen to what God taught Allan and Bonnie in this dark time. https://vimeo.com/427759651 I would also encourage you to visit their website (https://www.agoranetworkministries.com) to discover more about their ministry, Agora Network, which seeks to help the local church better minister to those suffering with mental, emotional, and spiritual illness.
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, depressed, or even suicidal, please talk to someone today. Our Fellowship has partnered with “Focus on the Family Canada” to offer a CLERGY-CARE hotline for all our pastors, missionaries, chaplains, and their spouses and children.
If you are feeling duress, contact this hotline at: 1-888-5-CLERGY and speak confidentially to a professionally licensed Christian counselor. For more information, click here.