I write to you tonight to tell you about something very precious I’ve found in Jesus. For years now, since the time I was a little girl and first met Him, He has always looked after me in the night. Of course, He looks after everyone, but I seem to require a little special attention. When I was very young, I was rarely afraid at all…but as I grew a little older, fears seemed to develop in me, and for quite a long time, night time was very difficult for me. As a little girl I felt alone and unprotected, even though my parents were sleeping in the house. I was never the type of child to go and wake my parents up because I was scared of something or had a nightmare. I only did that about twice. Quite realistically, I suppose this was a good thing, because my independence from parental reassurance opened me up to dependence for Heavenly reassurance. My fears at night as an older child were really quite pitiful. Every night, like clockwork, I would feel the mass of this feeling rising in my chest and I would go and lie down and face my fears. There was nothing to do with these fears BUT to face them. To bear the awful emotions that seemed to linger for hours. For hours I would lie awake and cry, afraid to go to sleep and wishing dearly that morning would come for it always stopped in the morning. I would always go to sleep, but sometimes I had nightmares…sometimes I couldn’t remember what I dreamed. For a while, and perhaps what seemed like longer than a while, (at this point I honestly don’t know how long this problem lasted), I would panic for a few seconds when I woke…usually at 4 AM. Shaking, I would lie back down, tears often dampening my pillow. But that was then…years ago. I tell you this that I might tell you what Jesus did for me, for oh how precious I find it still. Every night as I faced my fears I was aware of His presence. He was with me. Watching me. He gave me songs in the night. Showed me His faithfulness. Allowed me to curl up in His arms and be held as the little girl that I needed to be, night after night, after night. He was in control of all of my fears and my emotions. He could cease them with a wave of His hand. He reminded me that He never slept, and I knew that and found comfort in it, that He had been awake while I was dreaming, keeping me safe, keeping everything in His mighty hands. Once or twice, He even gave me dreams, special dreams; dreams that you beg to have again, but that is better suited for another time. The point is, He was preciously faithful, and gave me the special attention that I needed every night. Then there was the matter of me waking up. Recall that every time I would wake in the middle of the night I would panic for a moment. Every time I woke His spirit would speak to my palpitating heart, “It’s ok. Everything is ok…lay back down.” I will mention that this happened for a very, very long time. Can you imagine? The God of the universe, who runs everything, who keeps the stars in their place and the planet keep spinning in its orbit, cared enough about a poor little kid to go talk to her when she was scared and reassure her every time she woke in the night. It’s almost unfathomable and yet that little kid was me. I experienced His grace, on a continued basis, on a very personal level, and still do. Fast forward several years. I know longer have the problem that I had as a child, despite nothing but the Holy Spirit’s patient intervention. (By patient, I mean that He definitely took this healing process slow). Occasionally, I will still awake in the night and panic. It is the most awful, gut-wrenching feeling in the world. When this happens it always sits me straight up in bed, and at a whisper, I cry his name with the passionate plea of one screaming it. I cry for Him, and what does He do? He answers me. He answers me, and quiets me, and I lie back down and go to sleep with His peace renewed in me. Then, the event that sparked this post, last night I had a series of bad dreams. None of them were really horrible, but I became very frightened over one in which spiders kept coming out of the furniture near my head. (It wouldn’t have been scary to anyone who isn’t afraid of spiders). I woke up in a rather amusing way, flailing around, gasping, and sat up in bed, convinced that I had spiders all over my pillow. Amusing now, but not at 3 AM in the dark when you have just woken up from a vivid dream. My great rescuer was there, and He quickly spoke to my heart, hushing the panic that had overtaken me for the moment. I have a rescuer in the night…a great deliverer…a guard that is armed at my defense at all times. I have a King who cares for me. I have a Master who abolishes nightmares and casts out fears as He bundles me up like a child in the folds of His cloak and cradles me until the dark has passed. Are you afraid? Does the story that I told sound familiar? If it does, listen to me when I tell you that you truly are alright. And the same Jesus who cared enough to comfort me, as a child, and now, and forevermore, will care for you. He loves you, and He wants to use whatever you are struggling with to show you the beautiful things He can make if you let Him have your life. It doesn’t matter why you are afraid, or how long you’ve been afraid…Jesus can heal you. Maybe, just maybe my friend, you’ve been lied to. Maybe you’ve been told you can’t help it…or that there is nothing that can change it…that you are bound to this affliction. Friend that isn’t truth. The truth is that Jesus can and desires to heal you and make you free, but consider with me for a moment: He allowed an incredible amount of fear to be a part of my life for quite a while, that He might show me Himself and give me Himself in the middle of it. That I might learn that I have a rescuer in the night and know His name! That I might learn that the name of Jesus makes the darkness shudder and tremble. That I might learn of the peace that passes understanding…friend you have to have first experienced the opposite of peace to truly understand what that means. Here is my prayer for you, that this night, the Spirit of God will begin to heal you, whether it’s fear, or depression, or post traumatic stress disorder…or whatever is keeping you awake and in turmoil. But here is my promise to you, that if you know Jesus Christ, He will come to you, and He will comfort you in the night, and He will be with you just as He was with me that you might not be alone. If you do not know Jesus, He knows you my friend, and He loves you in spite of all the mess you’ve made. He is willing to become your rescuer and your eternal everything for all time, just as He is mine…He delights to save you. Wherever you are…whoever you are…no matter what you feel…no matter what you’ve done. Cry out to Jesus…you will find Him just I have found Him to be. The Great I AM, who delights to meet you where you are, and heal you. The God who answers…and delights to rescue, ESPECIALLY in the middle of the night.
Father, I trust you now to honor your word. That that which I have spoken for your glory’s sake would not return to you void, but it will accomplish your purposes. Stretch your hands around the world and heal them, as you have healed me. Amen.