I was afraid of the dark when I was a child. I remember thinking monsters were outside my window because strange sounds would come from that direction while I lay in bed trying to go to sleep. I’m sure today’s children when they go to bed at night also fear the dark where the imaginary world of monsters, bogeymen, and things that go bump in the night come to life. The most reassuring word came from my mother who would sit by my side calm my fears and say a prayer with me; “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray dear Lord my soul will keep…”, that brought back a sense of peace to my troubled heart and allowed for restful sleep.
Adults often laugh off the fears that seem so real to children. But the fact is that many adults experience something very similar. After the lights go out and the sound of silence fills the air, we are forced to face the things that hide in the busyness of the day. The grown-up monsters of deadlines, pressure at work, addictions, marital strife, abuse, declining health, employment status, financial difficulties, parenting, issues of self-worth and more are very much alive. Fear invades and sleep is not sweet.
“I will lie down and sleep in peace for you alone, O, Lord, keep me safe” (Psalm 4:8). The psalmist understood where to place these fears—right in the lap of his loving, protective Heavenly Father. Is this a promise that nothing bad will ever happen? No. It is trusting that God is with you even in the midst of your fears. The first part of Psalm 23: 4 reads, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me…” God did not deliver King David from the valley; He walked with him through it.