Your Nights Are Normal

by Dr. Alicia Britt Chole December 20, 2023
“God called the light ‘day’ and the darkness ‘night.’” Genesis 1:5a (NLT)

I sat alone in the quiet, unkempt park. Head in hands, unconsciously rocking, desperately trying to make my faith stay put, stay whole, simply … stay.

The picnic bench on which I perched looked like my faith felt: weathered, unstable and beyond repair.

The hot Texas sun tried to warm me as it rose but was powerless to light up the night within me. Undeterred, the sun then tried to warn me as it set, but I lacked the energy to care. Spiritual pain had depleted my reserves.

How on earth did I get here? I winced, staring into the gathering darkness.

Jesus had interrupted my atheistic worldview a few years earlier, right before college. My first steps with Him had been flooded by the brightness of day-faith. Of course, there were areas of struggle as I followed Jesus, but even then, I felt carried by Him in full sunlight.

That day in the park, however, all I felt was pain. For months, I had been thinking myself into exhaustion, trying to wrap my mind around mysteries beyond me. Nothing made sense anymore. It seemed that I had somehow failed my faith, and now my faith was about to fail me.

In hindsight, I see that God was inviting me into night-faith. And though I could never have anticipated it, night-faith would soon lead me into something far more satisfying than understanding: a deeper love for God.

Night was, after all, one of God's first creations:

“God called the light ‘day’ and the darkness ‘night’” (Genesis 1:5a).

“Then God said, ‘Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night’ … God made two great lights—the larger one to govern the day, and the smaller one to govern the night … And God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:14-18, NLT).

From the beginning of creation — pre-sin and pre-curse — walking with God required both day-faith and night-faith. Which means that the night is normal.

Physically, however, we humans have a long history of efforts to shorten the night. With candles or clicks, every age has tried to make the night bow to its perceived need for more light and less darkness.

Thankfully, we are regaining a respect for the night’s healing powers as researchers affirm the clear connection between darkness, immune system health, and mental and emotional wellness. Even so, we still are reticent to respect the night spiritually.

We prefer to grow by day, thank you. We prefer faith in full sunlight. We prefer to see clearly, to know much, and to walk confidently into a well-lit future.

But what if spiritual nights are also essential? What if avoiding the night is sabotaging the health of our souls? What if there is something we need in the night that cannot be found in the day?

Yes, faith glitters well in the day. But it grows deep in the dark.

Why? Because in the daylight, when it is easy to see, it is also easy to self-lead. In the night, when we cannot see, the foolishness of self-leadership is exposed. Nights press us to decide: Who and what do we trust more, ourselves or our God? Our senses or God’s Word?

Nights are invitations to grow our trust muscles, and trust — not answers — is what leads us further into love.

In the night, we discover the truth of Hebrews 12:2: God is “the Author and Perfecter” of our faith (AMP). And His breath can sustain that faith even when our minds cannot and our emotions will not.

Which means that we never ever need to be afraid when the lights go out.

Lord, I choose to trust You through this night. Though I can’t see my way through it, I can still follow You in it. Lead me more deeply into Your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


The night is not your enemy. Though faith shines in full sunlight, it grows deep in the dark. Read Dr. Alicia Britt Chole’s newest book, The Night Is Normal, to obtain a practical guide through spiritual pain.



For more inspiration, download Alicia’s song “Even in the Dark of Days” on Spotify or Apple Music.

Learn more about Alicia on Instagram and at her website.


Isaiah 50:10b, “If you are walking in darkness, without a ray of light, trust in the LORD and rely on your God” (NLT).

What night are you currently facing? What questions would you like to ask God? Share with us in the comments!

© 2023 by Dr. Alicia Britt Chole. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Tyndale House Publishers for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

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