The other night was bad. Filled with sleeplessness and irrational fears, it ended in a horrible nightmare out of which my cries for help woke my husband. Thank God he was there to wake me out of it. I sat up on the edge of my bed, switched on the light and tried to get oriented, waiting for my breathing to slow down.
Later, long after the lights were out and my breathing had returned to normal, I lay awake pondering the strange workings of the brain. I tried to figure out why I had been so afraid, why the nightmare. Mentally I checked off the list of possible causes – I had not eaten spicy foods or drank caffeine the night before, I wasn’t sick or on medication, there was no big stress in my life at the moment, and no one was out to hurt me that I knew of. I lived in a secure house in a safe neighborhood. I had no reason to be so fearful. Christian believers in particular have no reason to be afraid – when you know personally the God who created the universe, who is all powerful and whose Book says that all the days of my life have been ordained and He even knows the numbers of the hairs on my head, logic and common sense say that knowledge should trump irrational fear.
But there it was. How strange, these interweavings of brain function and emotion. When I know I shouldn’t be afraid, I am. When I know I should love others as Jesus loves me, I don’t always do it. What’s up with that? Then it hit me. It’s about Truth and Trust.
We live in a world that no longer understands absolute truth. Culture norms today tell us that truth is whatever you believe; trust only what you can see and understand. (Try that thinking with the law of gravity or not believing in germs!) Real Truth is true whether we believe it or not. It’s my job to discern it, learn it, decide to believe it and trust in the One who is not surprised by anything that happens, even when He allows things I don’t want or can’t understand. Like bad dreams.
I fluffed my pillow, smoothed the covers over me and closed my eyes. I wanted sleep, and I didn’t want any more bad dreams. But whichever I was about to receive I could enter it knowing that God is with me and will bring me out on the other side. I only have to trust Him.
“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want; He makes me lie down in green pastures, leads me beside still waters; He restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for His name’s sake. Yes, even if I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will not fear, for He is with me.” (from Psalm 23)