I’m a pretty light sleeper and so it’s a fairly common occurrence for me to be awakened in the middle of the night. As I lay there trying to go back to sleep I’m acutely aware of my heightened sensory perception to sound. I realize that some of the noises I’m hearing are not at all what they seem to be. I think I hear a sudden downpour of rain falling on our metal roof but it’s really just one of the fans I’m using in my room creating a similar sounding rhythmic white noise. Sometimes, I think that I hear a truck outside somewhere in the distance, the guttural sound of it’s motor escaping from it’s dual exhaust pipes, even the sound of it’s automatic transmission shifting from first to second gear, which like the rainstorm, would be a curious thing at four in the morning, but it’s only my brother in law’s snoring in the next room made indistinguishable by the constant drone of the fans. There are other noises too that I hear which originate from inside of my head. They’re the voices of my fears who have seized upon this moment to establish the credibility of their case to my presently vulnerable consciousness.
It’s seldom the day to day details of life that occupy my thoughts at times like these, or my hopes of the future. Instead, these time slots are sponsored by an energy which functions most efficiently through the deception of the darkness. The pertinent contrast here being that in the day we often see what we wish for, but at night we’re more likely to hear only what we dread. Our anxieties provide a stage for these demons to set up shop where the steady work of seeing this through is accomplished. There is at least one tree in the yard that could (given a strong enough wind) fall right onto the house, and we’ve recently had some fairly intense storms here that demonstrated how real a possibility that is. A truck in the middle of the night is usually just a group of rowdy teenagers and nothing more but after last weeks four AM visit we had from the kid who was in the four wheeler accident that walked into our house and drew himself a bath (am I kidding? no!) I guess I’m a little more wary of what people do in the middle of the night around here.
I did a little research on the phrase “dark night of the soul”. One thing I read was that it’s during our “dark night” that we as Christians begin to mature. Like Children who aren’t afraid of the dark anymore, or that aren’t merely aware of the power that’s available to them but who’ve begun to put it to use…firstly by dismissing their own tormentors. We come to know who we are in Christ only by our necessity to become what the Apostle Paul exhorts us to be in chapter 8 of his letter to the Romans…
37Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
All of us will face fear many times in this life. As children we’re unprepared and overwhelmed by it, conceding the dominion it has in the darkness or in the shadows on the wall. How blessed a thing it was when I no longer had to run and jump into my bed from mid floor to insure my avoidance of the hands waiting to grab my feet from the darkness beneath my bed.
God is the perfect Father, I believe He takes great pleasure in teaching us and that His patience with us is unfathomable. I’m reminded of my earthly father who while he certainly was no saint did help me learn how to ride a bike by walking behind me holding onto the seat to steady me. I’ll never forget turning around to catch a glimpse of him standing behind me in the road with his hands held out to his sides,palms up,with that expression on his face that said…”It’s all you” He knew when it was time to let go, when it was time for me to find my own balance. I’m also sure that he knew that there would be times when I would fall. It was my desire to be free that compelled me to face down my fear’s and go on to experience the journey that those two wheels had in store for me.
I’m not afraid of bumps in the road, or of things that go bump in the night…
Not only because I know Who’s behind me, with me, or Who goes before me, but because from my perspective they’re all nothing more than just…noises in the night!