When We’re Afraid of the Dark
April 8, 2016
-by Rachel Jones
Behold now, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD, you that stand by night in the house of the LORD. Lift up your hands in the holy place and bless the LORD; the LORD who made heaven and earth bless you out of Zion.
Any little kid will tell you that the monster under the bed is completely harmless during the daytime. When the shadows start to lengthen, and night begins to tuck us in, that monster can suddenly loom large and menacing. I have a hunch that King David understood that kind of senseless, nameless fear—the mind-altering numbness that can convince you that shadows are creepy fingers, that the hiss of the radiator is secretly a nest of snakes under your bed, that the light in your closet DID turn on all by itself—and all of this is undertone for the hard thumping and breathless pause of your heart in your ears. No wonder we cry out when we feel those feelings, whether we are 5 or 55 or 95.
Like many small children, bedtime was my least favorite time of the day. I knew I would miss something while I slept. I was convinced that the best shows came on after I went to sleep (a fact confirmed in adulthood), that my parents were having fun without me (also another fact confirmed in adulthood), and that an entire lifetime was passing me by while I was being forced to rest.
Here’s something I’ve also had confirmed as an adult—what I couldn’t see in the dark, I would make the absolute worst out of. That lump on the floor could have always been a stuffed animal shrouded in a discarded bath towel, but it sure looked like a lumpy black mass of terror slowly oozing it’s way across the floor to consume both me and my bed in a tarry and silently-screaming puddle. As a child with an overly active imagination, I knew better than to call Momma or Daddy into the room. They never believed in the monsters, or the creepy fingers, or the oozing puddles of destruction.
The readings from the Daily Office today, from start to finish, remind us of God’s great goodness toward us. From God providing manna in the desert, to Peter’s encouragement to keep on leaning into the life and love of Jesus, to John’s remembrance of Jesus’s promise to send us an Advocate, and the Psalmists’ ardent proclamations of all the ways God is God and we are not, we see and hear how the story of Light and Life sucks all the scary out of the dark and hidden snares. We hear the command to stand up on our own two feet, in the middle of the darkness and in the midst of the holy, to bless God, to tell the old old story of Jesus and his love. And as any child will tell you, singing a beloved song in the middle of the night makes all the shadows flee—and can usually rouse a grownup to come and tuck you back in, just to make sure all is well.
How do you speak the language of Easter into the dark and scary places of your life? Do you make the worst of what you don’t know? How does Psalm 134 encourage you to pray? Tweet us your response, and tag us with #50daysEaster or #Ps134.