A Prayer Against Darkness

I am laying in a bed in the guest bedroom. My husband is out of town for a bachelor party. I’m staying with a friend. The sheets smell like lavender and I’ve pulled an extra quilt over the bed to be warm enough. I click off  the light and strategically place the pillows to form a nest around myself. This makes me feel safer than before. I haven’t showered, the stubble rubbing together on my legs makes me cringe.

Oh God, the cats! I hope the cats are okay. Did I leave my hair straightener on? Or the oven, shit, did I turn that eye off on the stove? Surely, or else I would have heard it humming when I was eating at the kitchen table. Is the bathroom door open, can they get to the litter box and water? They are probably wondering when I will be home. Someone is going to break into my house and murder the cats. Yep, the cats will annoy them as they try to rob us, so they’ll just shoot them. I’m going to come home to broken out windows and dead cats.

And Andrew! Oh, I bet they are all so drunk by now. Didn’t he say something about a balcony? Didn’t he say he hoped no one fell over it because the house is on a mountain side? Good God, someone is going to fall over the balcony. A broken back, a bashed-in head. Yes, I’m certain someone will die on the balcony. And it will probably be Andrew. But he said he wouldn’t drink much because he’s in charge of the house. What if someone gets mad though? Andrew is trying to keep the house straight and pisses another guy off and that’s it. Off the balcony. Certain death. Someone is going to call me and say Andrew is dead. I won’t see him again.

It will be like earlier when I was cooking alone, except all the time. No one at home but me. Me and the cats. If the cats aren’t dead. What was that!?

Footsteps? I swear those were footsteps. Men with duct tape and guns.

***

The things I actually think. The worries I actually have.

The spawn of Fear.

Why do we fear things in the night that seem impossible in the day? I think about our physical condition at night. Our sight and our energy blunted.  In exhaustion and blindness we become vulnerable. Physically vulnerable, but in the subconscious recognition of our physical vulnerability, our mental strength is also compromised. Things that seem impossible during the day become inevitable realities at night because of our inability to fight them. Lying in a bed, helplessly asleep, what match am I for an intruder? Yes, I feel defenseless at night. But there is an especially evil association with night that penetrates us on those layers beneath the skin.

Fire and storm and murder happen under cover of darkness. Don’t they? In the movies and mystery books? It doesn’t rain until the sun’s gone down and house explosions only ignite while we sleep. Murderers wait for a descending moon.

The fear I felt at my friend’s house is a literal example, but it reflects a spiritual truth. When we live in the dark, we flounder around by our blunted senses, creating and believing lies based on our misunderstanding. But in the light, we have eyes to see; the unexplained frights of the dark reduced to the tinker of an old air conditioner.

This is the same with God. Away from His light, I lose perception. Fear overcomes me because I am vulnerable to the lies, easily fooled at the apparition. For by my own power, what match am I for the Intruder?

Lord, help me relinquish my fear and restore me to your light. Dispel the lies of the Enemy as they grow like fungus over my spirit, covering me from the peace and comfort you provide. Trample my anxieties rooted in fear. And Lord, carry me through the necessary darkness. 

God take up in your arms those living in fear. May they know you. 

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What are you so afraid of? How do you combat your fears, and in what to do you find comfort?

 


 

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7 comments

  1. I admire your honesty and you are such a talented writer whom I am beginning to greatly admire. The darkness of night is overwhelming and turns on the best of our imaginations but it is also a beautiful thing. Thank you for sharing this and for opening up my eyes and mind to a whole new perspective.

  2. Night time is often when my thoughts run the most rampant. Not so much with fears, but more so with crushing self-critique, regret over past mistakes, questioning of my present choices… yikes! It’s certainly not every night, but when it happens: it wears me down big time. Prayer and tears are often my biggest source of comfort in those moments, and I find that the darkness of night feels like the most comforting space to do both. Such a great post, as usual. 🙂

    • Your honesty is moving. I know that crushing self-critique all too well.

      Try and pray as we do, it still slithers it’s nasty way in and beats up on our insecurities. Night is all too perfect the cover for such an attack.

      Throwing those awful thoughts into the light is our best defense! Thank you for sharing, Katie.

  3. When S and I first got married, I would like awake at night and rehearse how I was going to vanquish the bad guy. It usually involved the fire poker and some sick kung fu moves. Then there was the night we bumped into each other in the middle of the night in terror. That’s a story that will have to told not blogged. ha.

    My fears have morphed since having kids. Mainly, my worries focus on death and more specifically either my own kids facing their own mortality, or having to suffer due to the untimely death of their mother or me.

    What has helped me so much is exactly what you have professed. The Light. Both an increasing knowledge of the goodness of our King, as well as the courage and humility to bring these fears to the Light in our community. I’m so thankful for a group of people that seek to bear my burdens and do not hesitate to allow me to shoulder theirs for a time.

    • Such truth you speak. It’s a beautiful thing that we can voice our fears openly as they only grow in their hiding places.

      I don’t think it’s strange that we fear death so much. I mean, we are conditioned to ignore death, an unfortunate circumstance that makes it all the more frightening.

      Only sometimes do I find myself in a place where I realize that I would be elated if Andrew died. I would still experience all the grief of course, but I can feel the joy at knowing Andrew has been united with Jesus. Usually, I can’t. But those rare sometimes, I cling to, knowing they are the most truthful of feelings.We are not abandoned, and this life is only a shadow.

  4. Ah! I react the same way when my husband is out of town. I credit it to too much Dateline viewing, but somehow I’m convinced that any and all bad things will happen when I’m home alone.

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