Though most nights are quiet, they are not always serene. In the early hours after the clock strikes midnight, any number of strangely irrational thoughts can cause our minds to race. How do we chase away the dark fears that dog our unsettled souls?
Psalm 59 escorts us into the troubling world of terrors in the night. Our author’s enemies keep coming out after dark to howl at him:
They return at evening,
snarling like dogs,
and prowl the city.
They wander about for food
and howl if not satisfied.
I suppose very few of us have predators that lurk around our neighborhoods at night. Yet it’s not unusual for nocturnal fears to claw their way into our minds—robbing us of our hope and peace. Like dogs scavenging for food in the night, these dark thoughts keep hounding us, determined to heighten our feelings of loneliness, vulnerability and even despair.
Jesus promised to give us the calming power of his peace and the bright of hope of his presence. Since God never dozes off, we can confidently trust he’s awake and willing to respond to our prayer—even in the middle of the night when we’d much rather be sleeping. Our troubled minds can be actively reassured by the presence of God’s protection.
These troubling night dogs might not go away instantly. Yet as we continue to seek God throughout the day and into the night, his Spirit will start chasing away the fears that dog us. Our Psalmist knew that out of the darkness of night, God’s bright hope would soon dawn in his life:
But I will sing of your strength,
In the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress,
my refuge in times of trouble.
You are my strength,
I sing praise to you;
you, God, are my fortress,
my God on whom I can rely.
I pray that Jesus’ peace will protect and lead you—in the morning, throughout the day, and most especially at night.