What do you think about when your head hits the pillow at night?
What is your last thought as you sleepily close your eyes and contemplate the next few hours of blessed sleep?
What words are fleeting across the caverns of your anxious brain as you try desperately and diligently to turn off the tumultuous thoughts that bully you and threaten to usher in fear?
What do you think about as you are drifting off to sleep?
I don’t know about you, but I can generally take every thought captive during the daylight hours.
I am able to re-program myself to think happy thoughts … to ruminate on powerful possibilities … and to contemplate all of the hope that lies before me during the day … the place where light rules and reigns.
However, when the sun goes down and the moon comes up, my thoughts tend to argue with my theology and play tug of war with my value system.
I know many women … and men for that matter … who deal with the germs of rancid thinking only at night. Only in bed. Only when the lights are off.
There is something about the dark that bids us to wander down pathways that are not healthy nor are they safe.
There is something about the midnight hour that justifies our friendship with worry and anxiety.
There is something about the twilight hours that is able to convince us that life is not good … nothing will ever change … and that our lives don’t have any meaning.
There is something about the evening shadows that twists our thought life and warps our hope.
Can anyone else relate?
“O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.” – Psalm 139:1-3
At the very moment in life, when we falsely believe that our thoughts are not seen or known by anyone, God is searching our hearts.
He has the Holy Spirit sifting through the thought particles that bounce around in our gray matter … even in the dead of night. Even there.
God cares what we think about. He cares very, very much.
His intimate concern for our thought life doesn’t cease when the lights turn out and when the shades go down … perhaps His oversight is most present even then. Even there. Even in that place.
“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.” – Psalm 19:14
He is aware what we are thinking about in the morning … during the afternoon hours … and when it is past our bedtime.
He knows. He sees. He cares.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.
You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.
During the midnight hour, I must hold onto the hope of my relationship with my Creator. I must speak with Him and not with my heart.
I must listen to Him and not to my own fears … in the shadowy moments of bedtime.
I must communicate with Him and not with my insecurities or my discouragement … when everyone else is asleep.
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
He is with me in the dark and He is with me in the day. What a glorious and sustainable truth!
I am not alone … I am not forsaken … the dark has no power over my thought life.
Perhaps the dark was given to me to be in tender, private, and uninterrupted communication with the One who knows me best and loves me most.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You. –
Perhaps it is in the somber and murky moments of nighttime that my conversation with the Father was designed to be the richest and most sincere.
Perhaps it is when everything else has been stripped away … when the busyness of my day has ceased … and when no one else is around that He bids me into His presence where there is always fullness of joy.
As an old day is ending and I am given the blessed gift of sleep … it is in that sweet place where my prayers are the most powerful.
“Rejoice always … even upon your bed at night!”
“Pray without ceasing … especially when it is dark!”
“In everything give thanks for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus … no matter what time of day it might be!” – I Thessalonians 5:16-18
As I drift off into the slumber that He has designed for me … I meet Him there.
And He lights up my night! He gives me safety and fights off my fears.
He reminds me that the Father is home … and that my life is in His good, good hands.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Carol McLeod