In The Still Of The Night…

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I love nighttime. I love the quiet, the stars, everything about it. I love Batman, and everybody knows he only works at night. I’ve always been a night person ( I hate mornings with a fiery passion), and would gladly stay up until 3 or so every night if I didn’t have to be up at 6:45 each morning. (For the record, I do stay up until 3 or so from time to time playing video games.) To me, night time is the right time.

But some people don’t feel that way. Some people dread nightfall. They don’t look forward to the darkness, seeing it as uncertainty. They don’t look forward to laying their head down to go to sleep, either because slumber eludes them or nightmares await them.

Although I love to stay up, I certainly don’t dread going to sleep. I never have a problem with dozing off, and when I do it’s merely an isolated event. That doesn’t mean there haven’t been times when I laid awake worrying about something. That’s the real problem, isn’t it? Everything seems worse in the stillness and darkness of the night. As a child, we’re afraid of the monster in our closet, or under our bed, or lurking in the hallway. As adults, we’re afraid of the monster in our bank account, or at our workplace, in our marriage, or in our own body as a sickness that threatens us. All sorts of things go bump in the night.

Shortly after I had first met Lea Ann in 1995, I was invited up to her grandparents’ mountain home in Tennessee. I slept on the screened-in back porch at the top of a mountain not far from Morristown, a city boy dropped in the middle of the Great Smoky Mountains. I can’t even described how freaked out I was lying there on that futon bed on that screened-in porch. The house was built at the top of the peak, so the hill dropped off steeply behind the house, making the porch a good ten feet above the ground. I heard things scurrying around under the porch. Then I heard things scrambling around on the roof. Then I heard the creepiest moaning sound I had ever heard drifting over the nearby hills.

I was convinced Bigfoot was coming for me.

You know what those sounds were? Under the porch? Cats. On the roof? A raccoon climbed a ladder left against the side of the house. That awful moaning that I was convinced was Sasquatch?

Cows. I was terrified by the Chick Fil-A mascot.

What I learned from that was that things often seemed really bad in the darkness, but really were nothing to fear at all.

We have always gone out of our way to teach our children that there is nothing in the dark that isn’t there when the lights are on. In fact, the dark can be pretty cool. Besides, nothing is going to get to them without going through their Mommy and me (they’re more assured by their mother’s defense, which is reasonable–Lea Ann won the county trophy for skeet shooting. She’s literally quite deadly with a shotgun).

I don’t know what’s haunting your nights, but let me reassure you of one thing: there is nothing that can get to you without going through God, your heavenly Father. I know nights can be tough, and they may not be your thing–especially if there’s a monster in your life right now– but rest assured that a better day is ahead: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5b).

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