I pulled the bedspread back, fluffed my pillow and collapsed into bed with a body as tired as my heart was heavy. My family had recently experienced a couple of close calls, the latest one still fresh on my mind.
Though I felt thankful things had turned out well, my mind parked itself in a continual feed of what-if’s. I closed my eyes, hoping to relinquish these disturbing notions. Instead, I awakened at 2:00 a.m. and found them with me still.
Forsaking the warmth of my bed, I shuffled through the darkness and into the kitchen. If sleep were going to elude me, I may as well brew myself a cup of coffee.
With coffee in one hand and Bible in the other, I situated myself – and my cluttered mind – on the couch nearest the end table. Truth be told, I had no desire to read – not even my Bible; I had no desire to talk – not even to God.
Numbness settled heavy upon me. I sat alone entertaining my worrisome suppositions. I lacked sufficient strength to ward off all that bothered me. Vegging out on the sofa, sipping my coffee and permitting thoughts to meander freely in and out of my mind was all I cared to do. But the longer I remained motionless, the more anxious I became.
Desperate for help, I purposed to open my Bible to the book of Psalms. I began reading silently at first, and then – when the silent words failed to hold my attention – I began to read aloud. With great effort, I fought to regain focus. Some passages I read again and again, struggling to take them in.
Oh, how the enemy loves waging this war against me! Hurling distractions my way until I finally take the bait. Claiming victory over me when I become so consumed by my hard places that honing in to God’s word – and formulating my own words back to Him – become a great challenge.
Sadly, many times I’ve simply closed my Bible and allowed my fear to run amuck. But this time? This time the enemy must not win.
Determined to hear from my Savior (through His word) and to pour out my heart to Him (through prayer), I kept at it. And I’m so happy I did.
As I read through the Psalms, I was reminded that I am never alone. Not in my fear. Not in my hopelessness. Not in my worry. David encountered these struggles as well. Reading of his plight and God’s redemption encouraged me to do as David did. To be still before the Lord. To call on Him. To release to Him every fear, concern and worry – laying them all at His feet.
Though my worries don’t always immediately dissipate when I go to God, they do suddenly pale in comparison to the overwhelming sense of His presence and His peace poured over me.
Smack dab in the midst of my hard places, God walks with me. Changing me from within. Stirring my heart. Strengthening my faith. Expanding my love for others and, in doing so, adding more meaning to my life.
Friends, may we allow our restless nights, burdened hearts and fearful uncertainties to spur us on to the Savior. One desperate prayer at a time. One difficult step after another. Into all the dark, scary places of life. Over each unwelcome obstacle. Through every tough challenge. Remembering we are always surrounded by a Savior who longs to make His presence – and His peace – known to us all.
“I sought the Lord, and he answered me and rescued me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant with joy; their faces will never be ashamed. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him from all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and rescues them. Taste and see that the Lord is good. How happy is the person who takes refuge in him!” Psalm 34:4-8 (CSB)