I can feel the blood pumping through my temples. The back of my neck is sweaty. I attempt to slow down my breathing.
I knew their names and can still see every detail of their faces. They were real.
Or were they?
I’m having a hard time convincing myself that their existence was merely a result of my fatigued imagination. A dream??
I resist the urge to close my eyes again so I don’t slip back into that place. I set my eyes on the little green light on the TV and feel like I have at least a little control over my mind. If I close my eyes, I will give it free reign again, and I fear what direction it might take me.
Why am I scared of a dream? Because it wasn’t one of those nonsense dreams that I can attribute to too much chocolate or too many silly kids books before bed. This one was a scenario that I am certain is a reality for someone somewhere in the world tonight.
War. Hiding. Running. Tornadoes. Kidnapping. Guns. Accidents.
Real life nightmares.
I’m not a very scared or worried person, but sometimes fear sneaks in in the night when I’m not distracted by a pile of laundry or stack of bills and when I can’t hide behind the sounds of kids screaming, phones ringing, and dogs barking. The dark quiet is sometimes nice, but at other times it welcomes thoughts that rip through the peaceful bubble I’m trying to maintain.
Life outside of my bubble is so bad for so many. In the last couple weeks, there has been a shooting in Chattanooga, a stabbing in Oklahoma, and a shooting in Louisiana, and that’s only in this country.
Lord, don’t let us be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
It’s so tempting to stay in our bubble, convinced that it may be safer than going out in public. But is it really? Couldn’t horrible things come to our house?
Well I can forget about sleep. I’m far too deep in worry now. I’m sure I will be fine by morning, but the fears are too real right now.
Fears stem from pieces of reality, and often pieces of someone else’s reality.
She has cancer, and she is my age…what if I get cancer? What if I die? What would happen to my kids?
What if terrorists come here?
What if I lose my job? What if my husband loses his job? How will we pay for everything?
What if my son hates school? What if he is made fun of?
What if we are hit by a bad storm and lose everything?
What if there’s a fire on the other side of the house and the alarm doesn’t work?
There’s something sobering about fears. They force us to realize that we ultimately have no control. We can do everything in our power to prevent bad things, but they may happen anyway. We will all die, but it’s what we might experience while alive that terrifies us, sometimes to the point of not being able to enjoy living. As a believer in Christ, I believe my future is secure, but sometimes fear of the journey creeps in.
We are living in a place covered in darkness, so we need not be surprised when bad things happen. But what do I do while I’m here? I don’t want to avoid the mall or the theater or the grocery or the school. What kind of life would that be? The truth is, bad can creep in to any setting, even the most unexpected of places.
The tiniest light on the TV cuts through what would otherwise be solid black. It offers a focal point while fears swarm my mind. I have to be that light in this place. As Jesus said…
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
If I stay in my bubble in an attempt to grasp security, I can’t shine far beyond the walls of my own house.
Don’t underestimate the significance of the light you are emitting. Imagine trying to feel your way through a pitch black alley lined with evil that could jump out any time, threatening to take your life or the lives of your children. It’s a lonely, sad, miserable time trying to feel your way out. Then you see a light, the tiniest light, illuminating a path that leads to a place of peace and joy that is void of all things bad.
Your tiny light can change the world for many. Don’t let it get buried in worry and fear of things you can’t control. I don’t like living in this dark world either, and I can’t explain why it is this way, but I’m determined to keep an eye on the only light I can see at the end of all this.
So I will try to fall back asleep and not let the enemy grip my mind. He wants me to be overtaken to the point where I am crippled and unable, or at least unwilling, to invest my time in doing good in his world of darkness.
This is Jesus speaking:
“What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
What keeps you awake at night?
How bright is your light in the darkness? How far does it reach?