It's 12:15. Just after midnight. I stayed up until 11:15, knitting, trying to become sleepy enough so that when I did go to bed, I would fall asleep. My stomach hurts from so much churning, and the churning is from anxiety. There are things to worry about, and it doesn't much matter what they are this time; in a few years it will be a new thing to stress over. But the stress, the anxiety, the churning, will feel the same. It's felt the same for years, on nights like this.
When I flicked off the light and lay there and almost drifted into sleep several times between 11:15 and 12:15, each time my nervous, frenzied brain would wake me with a start. It's just fear. Sometimes I deal with it better, and sometimes I deal with it worse, like this time. I recited the Scripture I presently have memorized, and it's a good one -- "For this reason (because you cannot worship God and money) I say unto you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or drink, nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air. They neither sow nor reap nor do they gather into barnes. Yet your heavenly Father takes care of them." That's as far as my memory could get.
I imagined Jesus speaking to me, just to me. "Do NOT be anxious." Worries are so much worse in the middle of the night. My heart is unreasonable and will not be consoled. "He has it all in hand." 'Then why is it falling apart?' I ask. I bring to mind the consolations that friends have shared in recent days, especially one from an old saint. "Try not to worry about things so much, and if you do, remember that He has it all under control." That's a paraphrase. The mind paraphrases a lot after midnight.
Again, this isn't about this particular trouble. There have been literally hundreds of troubles over the past thirty years. It's about how I handle the trouble. Sometimes it seems to slip off my back and leave me unscathed. This time, my heart is trembling and palpitating, my throat feels closed, I can't eat much. I feel sick. And my brain jerks me awake when I'm exhausted.
So I sit up now. It's 12: 26. My old trusty Bible lies by me, and I will read. I will read until I feel reassured, until the Holy Spirit calms me and takes charge of my weak spirit again. Anxiety is such a useless state. Reading the Bible puts one's life in perspective. When I read about how God rescues millions of people from slavery, or saves a man from death, or keeps His promises over and over, then my little trouble seems manageable. I know it's manageable to Him.
Then why does my heart still quiver? Why am I so afraid? My eyes drift over the pages of the psalms, looking for words for my situation, comfort for my trouble. Some are so pertinent that they're sharp. I will not quote them here. But "In my trouble I cried to the LORD, and He answered me." Yes.
Suffice it to say, I know both David and the Lord fully understand my fears and inner strife.
How thankful I am that His Word brings such comfort in the dark hours of the night.