“What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” Psalm 56:3 (KJV)
When our kids were little they were afraid of the dark, so bedtime was often a challenge. They were masters at procrastinating… they’d find every excuse to get out of bed once we’d tucked them in. “I need to go to the bathroom. I need a sip of water. I think I left something in the living room. I’m hungry.” If those things wouldn’t work, they’d play the ‘God Card’, “I just remembered a prayer request.” After exhausting their bank of excuses to avoid bedtime they’d finally ask the inevitable question, “Would you come and lay with me till I fall asleep?” Eventually we’d give in. We’d go and lay down with them and then slip out of the room with cat-like ninja skills hoping not to wake them as the floor creaked and door squeaked.
I must confess, I would get extremely frustrated with my kids during the bedtime process. Their mom would always gently remind me that they were little kids, and they just needed comfort because they were afraid. Being a man, I wanted to ‘fix the problem’. So one day we bought nightlights. We put one in each of their bedrooms and in their bathroom. The nightlights definitely helped a lot, but periodically they’d still ask, “Can you come and lay with me till I fall asleep?”
Truth be told, I was the same way when I was a little kid, too. I’d go through the same back and forth routine with my mom before bedtime, and eventually I’d ask her to come and lay down with me. But she never bought me a nightlight-she did something different. She’d tell me, “Danny, you don’t have to be afraid because the Lord is with you. All you have to do is call on him.” And then she’d pray over me and quote Psalm 56:3 repeatedly, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” She would say it over and over and ask me to say it with her until I fell asleep. Letting God’s Word be my nightlight always seemed to work. Eventually, I passed this on to my own kids-hopefully one day they’ll share it with their children, too.
No matter how old I get, I still deal with fear on a regular basis. Only now when I lay awake in bed at night it’s not fear of the dark that haunts me…it’s fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of letting go, fear of self-image, fear of trying new things, fear of being uncomfortable, fear of what the future holds, fear of not having enough money, fear of not making enough time for my wife and kids, fear of the world that my kids are growing up in…fear, fear, fear. The enemy tries to plant the earworm of fear like a melody in my head. It plays loudly like the chorus of a Taylor Swift song that you just can’t get out of your head, “Are we out of the woods yet…”. But it rarely lasts because the melody of God’s word in Psalm 56:3 plays even louder. It’s like a timeless U2 anthem that makes you want to stand and sing along at the top of your lungs in a stadium of 100,000 people, “In the Name of Love…”
How about you? Does the melody of fear play loudly in your head? What fears do you take to bed with you and how do you handle them? Over and over God’s Word tells us that we don’t have to be afraid because He is with us. Check out the words of the Prophet Isaiah that served as God’s nightlight for the Nation of Israel during their time of fear and uncertainty as they wandered and waited on God to lead them into the Promisedland:
“But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…” Isaiah 43:1-3
God wanted the Nation of Israel to trust him and not be paralyzed by their fears and uncertainties. He reassured them that He made them, He saved them, and He was with them no matter what because they were His children. Perhaps that’s what God wants us to remember when we are plagued by the melody of fear. No matter how rough the waters are, how high the waves appear, or how hot the flames may seem, we are his children, ransomed and rescued by His Son Jesus, and He is with us no matter what.
What’s the song of fear that plays loudly, over and over in your head? Where do you turn for comfort when you are afraid? God’s word is like a nightlight for our soul. It’s a melody of assurance that He is with us, He will never abandon us, and He can be trusted no matter what. Take a moment and memorize Psalm 56:3 so that in times of fear you can be reminded that you are not alone-the Lord is with you. “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.”