I’m lying in bed and it’s 11:31 p.m.
And my face is sticky, because I’ve been crying into my pillow. My nose is dripping. I’m hoping to avoid a mirror for a while. Good thing it’s dark in here.
I keep rubbing the back of my neck, hoping for the words to well up again.
All I hear is “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” It’s playing from my computer speakers, speaking to me in a language I’ve known so long. The words that I know by heart echo inside me, even though all I hear are simple piano notes.
It’s like my heart knows the way home, even when I’m tired and it’s dark and all is ajar.
I’ve been praying my thoughts with Psalmist-like honesty. I know that I’m not alone in these nights. How many of you, my friends, have also laid awake in bed kept awake by your fears?
I keep finding myself on the edge of a negotiation with God:
“Lord, I know you’re in control. I just don’t know what that means for me. What does that mean You’ll do? I trust that You’re good…but how does that help this situation? I still don’t know what You’re going to do. What if it’s painful? What if it hurts someone I love? What if Your plan isn’t the one I want? If You’re going to do what You want anyway, does it do any good for me to pray for what I want?
You know, at least for me tonight, I’m not really asking God if He’s in control.
I’m not even asking Him if He’s good.
I’m asking if He cares about what I care about. I want to know if He loves my hurting friend as much as I do. I want to know if He cares about my future as much as I do. I know He’s powerful and working out all that is good.
I just want to know how that applies to me right now.
On nights like tonight, the built-up emotions swirl in me until I’m left dry and tired.
But I lifted my head out of a soggy pillow in sudden joy and grabbed for my computer to tell you this story.
As I prayed gut-wrenching prayers, the knowledge stole over me.
“Lord, you love this friend more than I do.”
“Jesus, You don’t withhold anything good from me, not for one minute more than necessary. Something else better is happening right now, or this waiting would be over.”
THIS is what can sustain me through a night of tears. It’s not just that He rules and plans. The thing that puts my heart to rest is that HE LOVES ME! He loves me, He loves my people, and He cares about the things that weigh on my heart.
The idea of distantly-loving and powerful God doesn’t do much for me. But a personally-involved and caring One? He is a God I can rest in.
So I sniff and wipe my tears and smile in the dark.
“Rock of Ages” plays now. I will hide myself in Him.
“Rock of Ages, cleft for me. Let me hide myself in Thee…
Nothing in my hand I bring
Simply to thy cross I cling.”
– Augustus Toplady –