A few weeks ago, our elderly neighbor, Mr. Jim, called us in the middle of the night. We’d instructed him to do so should a need arise. It did. His bride of sixty years plus had fallen in the bathroom, and he couldn’t get her back on her feet. Billy was able to help out and to save our neighbors another 911 call.
Since that time, I check on them every morning. Not with a phone call or a visit but, instead, with a single glance out my window. I look for the familiar lamplight in their den. If it’s glowing, I breathe a sigh of relief. The lustrous warmth from behind their window pane tells me one thing.
They made it safely through the night till morning.
In many ways their certainty serves as mine. I, too, made it safely through the night till morning. Seeing their light reflects back on that fact that my lamplight is also burning… lit and fueled by a night’s worth of resting. I cannot see it as it’s happening—this collection of rest that gathers in the folds of my flesh as I slumber in the dark. But each new morning, I’m reminded that what I cannot see happening in the dark—cannot manage nor manipulate while in an altered state of consciousness—is often the strength that carries me through the daylight hours.
God is the Keeper of that darkness. God superintends the gathering and collection of strength as I rest. I’m not always comfortable with the conditions of that rest. Many have been the nights when I’ve fought the constraints of my darkness, wrestled with the unknown realities of nighttime, only to arrive depleted by dawn’s arrival. Rather than giving in to a normal, nocturnal cycle, I rally against it. I burn a candle in defiance, refusing to let the night do its work in me. Those are times of lesser faith… lesser trust in the God who keeps vigil for me.
Oh to be a woman of faith who doesn’t run from the darkness but, instead, who believes God to see her safely through till morning. A “kept” woman—kept safe, kept warm, kept closely, kept wholly by the Father who draws his children closely to his heart and who uses their darkness as the growing field of a tremendous, unshakeable trust.
I’ve been through a dark night, friends. A long, drawn-out season of nocturnal growth. As the dawn approaches, I don’t feel as rested as I’d like. Some night seasons require more than others. But of one thing I am certain…
I am stronger for the night I have known, because God has kept vigil for me.
A dark night with a vigilant God grows a stronger spirit. God is the candle that stands in the shadows of our sleep and that keeps our hearts fueled for the arrival of dawn. A new day, a new season to live as a certain witness to the night’s growth that has preceded it.
Today, I’m a witness. You are as well. We’ve made it through another night, and our candles are still burning. You may not be aware of it, but you have a few neighbors—a friend, a family member, a co-worker, a stranger—who are looking through their windows into yours this morning to make sure that your lamplight is on. Your light is important to them. It shines as a testimony to a night’s rest, a night’s trust, a night’s growth, a night’s vigilance by a loving God. He kept you then; he keeps you still.
Thanks be to God for the keeping, reaching hold of grace! God is growing his kingdom in you and through you… even in the darkness. The light from your window strengthens me. Thank you for allowing me a look inward from time to time. As always…
Peace for the journey,