In the Middle of the Night
Every year, over the span of a couple short weeks, I celebrate my birthday, Christmas, and the New Year. I reminisce over the past year and resolve new goals for the next. This year has been filled with what I call alone-in-the-middle-of-the-night moments. Do you ever get those? One of the moments came for me as I was lying awake one night listening to my grandmother’s shallow breaths over a baby monitor and calculating her doses of Ativan and morphine in my head. Another time came when I walked into the basement to submit an electric meter reading, that was due at midnight two days earlier, only to see inches of dark murky water all around. And there was the time I was curled up in pain on the bathroom floor, wrapped up in an old afghan, knowing I had to be at work in a few short hours. And yet another moment came as I was anxiously pacing in the emergency room waiting to hear news of a sick friend. It’s those moments when crisis hits after dark and no one is humanly available to share in my pain. Perhaps the knowledge that I was alone was worse than the actual event. My normal practice would be to call up a friend, but calling is just not a nice thing to do at two, three, or four in the morning. In the silence, my mind tends to run wild with all the things that could go wrong. I flounder to find a sense of peace or organized plan of action or method of processing. My mind tries grasping at something, just one little sliver of brightness to cling onto.
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning.
As a Christian, I easily say things about how God always cares for me and that Jesus understands every pain that can be humanly experienced and that He will never leave me or forsake me. But how do I “call to mind” or remember these truths during tough times? I’ve tried flipping through my Bible app to find words of hope during each of these moments but the words look about as meaningful as jumbled up magnet letters on a fridge door. They don’t mean anything. That is, unless I didn’t have to fumble to find the right verse at the right time. Memorizing the word of God so I can call to mind and have hope for the morning. Take, for example, each of these truths paired with a verse.
God cares for me: As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. Psalm 103:13
Jesus understands my pain: For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15
God will never leave me: Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6
Three short verses can mean a world of comfort when I am surrounded by a world of chaos. My resolution this year is to memorize verses, like the ones listed here, so that I can preach the Word of God into my mind even when I’m alone, can’t call a friend, and my Bible app freezes.
I am reminded of a simple little tune I learned during my days as a summer camp counselor in Camden:
In the storm, in the storm, in the storm, I am safe in the hands of the Lord. When I’m weak God is strong. I’m not scared when He’s along.
Storms will come. But safety can be found when God is along. To welcome in 2015, I propose a toast to a year filled with truth from the Word of God. Cheers!