I have middle-of-the-night insomnia sometimes.
I never have trouble going to sleep, worn out from a day of chasing around my two-year-old son. But I then I wake up in the wee hours of the morning. Before I can fall back to sleep my mind starts to wonder. This is a dangerous hour for me. Cares that I put aside in the light of day start to creep in, and I worry about a bill that needs paid or the ever unfinished list of household chores that need tackling the next day.
The longer I lie awake, the darker my thoughts get, the worse my problems seem. Suddenly things that weren’t problems at all in the afternoon are completely daunting. I even start to worry about other family and friends’ problems. Soon I’ve worked myself into a hopeless, sleepless frenzy. Only the blaring of the alarm clock jolts me out of this terrible practice of nocturnal fretting.
Thank goodness for the morning!
As the sun rises and illuminates the sky, light is also shed on my concerns during the night. Now those problems that were so dire in the pre-dawn are no longer as pressing. The money I thought wasn’t there to pay that bill is sitting in the bank account waiting for me to write the check. A few items on the to-do-list are quickly completed, and the rest I realize can wait for another day without harm. I recognize that some of my fears from the night are totally unreasonable, a result of an over-tired mind.
Others cares are real and serious. These need to be turned over to God. I take them to him in prayer, petitioning him for guidance, protection and for his will to be done in each situation. I ask him to take the anxiety from me, and I release these problems to him. He will deal with it in his time and in his way. I don’t need to worry today, tonight or tomorrow.
The Bible tells us in Lamentations 3:22-24, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him’.”
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines compassion as sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it. The more familiar quotation of this verse taken from the King James Version of the Bible uses the word mercies instead of compassions. Mercy is defined as a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion or compassionate treatment of those in distress.
God desires to take away our stress. When we are suffering he treats us gently with love and favor. How fortunate we are to have a loving God who cares so much that every morning he renews his compassion and mercy for us. As night closes in, a new morning filled with hope awaits our waking.
Lamentations was written by the prophet Jeremiah mourning the destruction of Jerusalem, but even in this darkest hour, as shown by what he wrote in the verses above, he did not forget the Lord’s faithfulness to his people.
At times in your life, every day may seem to be an endless dark night. Perhaps your situation is go grave that the sunrise is not enough to chase away your doubt, your despair. The situation is beyond your control. Helplessness and hopelessness grip your every thought. The proverbial light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel seems so far out of reach.
1 Peter 5:7 tells us, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (NIV)
Go to the Lord in prayer. Tell him your troubles and let him carry your burdens for you. The weight will be lifted from your heart. He will give you peace. He will give you a new morning of hope.
When I awake suddenly in the night now, I stop my mind from walking down that moonlit path of fear by praying. First I ask the Lord if there is something in particular I need to pray about. Sometimes it is not fear, but the Holy Spirit that interrupts my sleep, prompting me to pray for someone in need. If so, I pray for what the Lord brings to my attention. Then I trust him with that and all the other worries I have. I ask him to calm my mind and give me rest so that that I can rise in the morning to a fresh start with a fresh mind. I am able then to go back to sleep.
In the morning I return to God in prayer with the concerns of the night. Sometimes by morning he has already given me an answer. Other times I simply rest in the peace of knowing it is in his hands.
Morning will always come.
The night will always end.
The Lord is always there.
Start each day looking for His new mercies.