Are you a night worrier? My mother has never had any trouble falling asleep at night. But once in a while, if she’s unlucky enough to wake up during the night, that’s it for sleeping. She calls them “racing thoughts.” Turning, churning, and tumbling in her mind at a pace that won’t stop.
What is it about the middle of the night that things always seem so dire? We awake with a feeling of dread. A worry that seemed small during the day seems to blow up in the dark of our bedroom. Taking on a menacing shape. Like that monster from our childhood, threatening to creep out and grab us in our sleep. Larger problems seem insurmountable, even hopeless.
In the dark we are scared children again. We’re alone and helpless. We forget everything we know about God’s love and faithfulness. We let fear take over. It becomes impossible to place our trust in God. We focus on the darkness (the metaphorical absence of God’s light) instead of the quiet.
But remember…the quiet is the best time for hearing. Listen to what God is whispering to you:
Do not fear, for I am with you,
Do not be afraid, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.
I hear God saying: “Sleep my child. Do not be afraid. I’m right here. There is nothing for you to do tonight. Tomorrow we will face the day together. You are not alone.” It helps to actually imagine God’s hands in front of me. Comforting, strong, and gentle. I give my fears a physical manifestation. Maybe a jagged rock or a heavy box. At God’s invitation I place the box full of worries in His hands.
It’s easy to feel that God has left us alone in the dark because we cannot “see” His presence. This is precisely the time to let yourself “feel” His presence. Use your imagination or the comforting ritual of rote prayers to remind yourself…
God is HERE
God is merciful
God is compassionate
God is powerful
I am not alone.