I think about it this way. If you have some experience where the lights are turned out for a considerable amount of time, your eyes adjust to the darkness, but you know the light that was present just before they were turned out. You enjoyed the light greatly, but now you came into the darkness and your eyes have adjusted to the darkness. Now, the feeling I have been talking about...what John calls "Darkness of the Soul" comes when the lights are turned back on. Glorious light! Finally you have gone from light to darkness, and now back to incredible light. This whole time you have been in the dark room longing for light.
You knew ABOUT light. You recalled everything ABOUT light that you knew before. But, o happy day, you get to actually EXPERIENCE the light after so long spent thinking ABOUT light. Glorious....right?
Not necessarily! As soon as you experience light after being in that dark room, you are temporarily blinded because you go immediately from dark to light, and your eyes cannot take the sudden change. You must now learn to adjust. For so long you knew ABOUT light. You even proved very confident in your knowledge about how light operates, but now in full EXPERIENCE of light, you are thrown into a temporary blindness. You cannot take all of it, and now you must adjust. It still seems dark for a second, but you have EXPERIENCED the light you had only known ABOUT before.
We are believers who know a lot about God. We have become excellent at how much we have learned about our phenomenal God. We see great things, and we know God has shown these things to us. But now, we are beginning to actually see God. We are at the piont of entering into truly experiencing the God we have learned so much about. We are entering intimacy with the heart of a relational God.
When Moses got closer enough to God, he "hid his face", and he was terrified. The closer to God he got (and he got closer to God than we will ever know), the more darkness he experienced. Darkness came in ways of fear, anxiety and confusion. Now that sounds very familiar to our darkness of soul, and Moses knew much of God, and yet still faced himself in darkness when he experienced God.
After all we have seen, we all the sudden become blind. But it is because we are in the midst of a great transition into experiencing the God we have always known ABOUT. This God we know so much about now becomes "absent"...or at least appears absent behind our exposure to a light our faith cannot handle. God is not actually absent, but we have become temporarily blinded by the purity and glory of God coming into a closer relationship with us.
The question is:
WILL WE ADJUST OR GIVE UP AND CLAIM HE'S ABSENT?