Night Falls… once more

Night falls, oh yes, it does.  The four dark corners untangle from the heavens falling in gentle folds sliding under the stars, and settling with great tenderness upon my world covering all the broken pieces of the day with the weight of comfort, and the promise of hope in the new dawn to come.

My heavenly Father holds the night tenderly in His hands; if we listen we can we can be comforted as He breathes His sweet peace in the hearts of His restless children.

The night ~ it’s a time of rest and refreshing.
The night ~ when excitement comes alive and living continues on in a different mood and mode.
The night ~ when your world closes in and hurt and pain fall afresh shattering the blackness surrounding you.
The night ~ fading as day breaks.

Preparing for a time of (I hope) deep sleep and recharging, I often search and find peace in the Psalms.  There, warm reminders wrap around body and soul, and are as personal as my comfortable fleece throw.  “You own the day, you own the night; you put stars and sun in place. You laid out the four corners of earth, shaped the seasons of summer and winter.”  (Psalms 74:16 MSG)  I acknowledge the greatness of my God, and I am transported to a place of trust, rest, and strength.  He possesses my days, nights, all my seasons… my very life, and as in days of old, the words from childhood still bring  sweet comfort  knowing my Father is near: “Now I lay me down to sleep…”

“Night life” is becoming an alien thought now-a-days, although there is Sunday and Wednesday nights when we (hubby and I) gather with our church family for prayer, praise, and fellowship, with an overarching time of worship.  But leaving home in the evening for times of entertainment for entertainment’s sake is coming less and less.  I still love a decent movie, and enjoy dinner out with good company in a relaxing atmosphere, no after clean-up just a pleasant afterglow.

It is lovely walking in our beautiful river side park in the evenings with the moon reflecting in the black water, while the fountains compete with the stars in their glittering display.  Live music of every genre is playing in the background.  There is even an old upright piano sitting under a gazebo waiting for some frisky fingers to come to add to the cacophony of music made under the stars.  God is pleased with the good happiness of His children as they enjoy the things of the world He has made. “Oh yes ~ God takes pleasure in your pleasure!  Dress festively every morning.  Don’t skimp on colors and scarves.  Relish life with the spouse you love each and every day of your precarious life.  Each day is God’s gift.  It is all you get for the hard work of staying alive.  Make the most of each one!  Whatever turns up grab it and do it. And hardily!”  Ecclesiastes 9: 7b-9 (MSG) ……not a trite message.

I do understand when experiencing night time refreshments I am extremely blessed.  My husband and I still live, and we still love and care for one another.  In this stage of our lives, despite of our defective hearts, and dropping various body parts as we go, we function.  Still feel awe, amazement, and tender times living on God’s beautiful earth, especially In the twilight where lingers reflections of the day.

I don’t live in a fairy tale.  I have known the cold light of day when everything is rough and has sharp edges; I have felt despair creep stealthily on me as the sun disappears over the Ohio River and dips behind Indiana.  This is when I long for the Lord’s intense touch of comfort, His cradling; and for His peace, even though I cannot fully understand as it washes over and through my soul like an unrelenting river.  It carries me along on streams of trust to the throne of the One who holds the answers, and eases the pain ; yes, these are nights of another kind indeed, and even still, He provides.

Night may be a state of mind ~ no matter the light of day or the season of my life, it can harshly crash to the earth, and with it the fractured pieces of the day are ground to ashes never to be made whole again.  Many fragments are too painful to be remembered, others ~ a living shard piercing physical bodies, emotions, and spirits.  Night ~ the midnight blackness stealing rest and relief, and leaving grief and pain, echoing in the recesses of a wounded heart as it invades my inmost being.  I’m not speaking of wallowing in self-pity, but of being overwhelmed, overtaken by a life storm rushing down, a mountain of misery erupting ahead of the lava of heartbreak.  It is even worse when I bring it on myself. Although the reason for his prayer differ from mine, I have empathy with David’s plea: “I’m tired of all this ~ so tired.  My bed has been floating forty days and nights on the flood of my tears.  My mattress is soaked, soggy with tears.  The sockets of my eyes are black holes; nearly blind, I squint and grope.” (Psalms 6:6-7 MSG)

There are times I have owned these “nights of the soul” experiences; only the Holy Spirit living within and amid my turmoil can understand and bring the solace I long for.  Until I release it to Him, the nightmare and dread ~ I can’t awaken from ~ goes on and on.  As humans we face, in due time, certain death; a day with no night, a night with no tomorrow on this earth.  There are worse things to bear than physical dying.  I often think of the things some people I love have borne.  In each case in a short time the joy of the Lord was revealed through their lives again.

Some things suffocate (not the joy of Jesus) the happiness of life almost completely: deceit (a continuous killing,) betrayal (killing of self-worth,) lies (slaying trust,) abandonment (destroying hope).  To use descriptive words for only these four categories would fill a thousand books.  How many ways of deceit are there, how many kinds of betrayal… etc.  Our Saviour faced them all.  Jesus’ prayer, His beseeching, His cry… can I comprehend? “He took Peter, James, and John with him.  He plunged into a sinkhole of dreadful agony.  He told them, ‘I feel bad enough right now to die. Stay here and keep vigil with me.’ Going a little ahead, he fell to the ground and prayed for a way out: ‘Papa, Father, you can ~ can’t you? ~ get me out of this. Take this cup away from me.  But please, not what I want ~ what do you want?’” Mark14:34-36 (MSG)  Is this a prayer I could pray in my grief, can I surrender it?

To find the dawn, to search for the light, becomes an all-consuming desire.  Through times of faith-testing I find opportunity; I come to know the Lord Jesus in a more intimate and trusting way ~ maybe even deeper than before the suffering and crushing pain.  As I pray, listen, and wait, I learn His purpose for my life through this situation.

In brokenness, if I lean fully on the Lord I am reshaped; I start to resemble Him.  I am awakened to the fact He is the daylight, He is the song of the morning; He is stability for my time of rising, and the strong protector of my heart in the deep, black, midnight.

At the end of the long darkness, as the stars lose their strength in the rising of the sun, and the dew refreshes the face of the earth the Christian prays:  “I have no strength; be my strength. I have no courage, be my courage.  I have no will, be my will.  I cannot stand under this, be my legs and feet.  I have no more tears, cry for me.  I cannot carry these burdens, carry my load and carry me. As I hide my head in my hands, be the light that slips through my fingers, shine on me, and warm me.  Be my life, my self-worth, my trust, and my hope.  Cause my adoration for you, my God, to weigh more than my burdens.”

Again and again He compels us to come to Him, bring Him our burdens ~ bring him ourselves.  Because of the suffering He endured, and the God He is, He understands our sorrows, and intensely, earnestly desires to bring the peace He has purchased for us.  Our rest is in Him.

Once again Jesus spoke to the people. (Including us, the restless in the night) This time He said, “I am the light of the world! Follow me; you won’t be walking in the dark. You will have the light that gives life.” (John 8:12CEV ) Emphasis mine.  As our Saviour, He is the light who sheds His presence to drive away fears hiding in the earthly shadows.  He will care for us through eternity, including “there” and “now.”

In Psalms 112:4 I am assured those who fear ~ in awesome wonder ~ their holy God will receive these words, “Sunrise breaks through the darkness for good people ~ God’s grace and mercy and justice!” (MSG)

This we know and can rely on:
“We often suffer, but we are never crushed. Even when we don’t know what to do, we never give up. In times of trouble, God is with us, and when we are knocked down, we get up again.”  (2 Corinthians 4:8-9 CEV)

He brings peace; He is peace.  Standing in the cool evening waiting for darkness to fall I sing with the night birds, “When peace like a river…” Ah, to know that river!

 

{Originally published October 7, 2014 and reposted again because of the beauty and power of the testimony! ~ editor}

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