Seeking God in the Night Hours

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Psalm 119:147 “I rise before dawn and cry for help; I wait for Your words”

Our family’s recent relocation to the U.S. has been a euphoric whirlwind.  But after the initial excitement of change the harsh reality of life’s pressures – no matter where you are – are starting to get tough.

When I share with Americans about my 16 years in Brazil I would always sense their aversion to the economic and social chaos that exists Latin America.  Above all, the political corruption that trickles down to the streets in cities like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are things that most Americans look at and think, “Why would you want to live there, if you had a choice?”

But being back in America has made me aware of the very real pressures and challenges that we face here.  Oxnard, California where I live has miles of beautiful beaches, but most people I know here hardly ever get to enjoy them.  Most everyone is so busy frantically trying to survive, especially the parents.  Even if you decide to be an ascetic hippy your kids will probably be sucked into the consumer machine… and it seems like many American parents have to keep worrying about their kids needs into their 30s and 40s.

While I’m occupied with work and family responsibilities I generally deal pretty well with the anxiety seething in my subconscious.  Most nights however there is a moment that I wake up and really ponder the worst outcomes of my current challenges and the fact that I really can’t deal with that.  In other words, if the worst happens I’m not going to be OK.  These are my thoughts most nights at 2:00 am.

Thankfully most nights I can can just sat a quick prayer and pass out again, or maybe listen to a boring How Stuff Works podcast to put me to sleep.  But once or twice a week the anxiety is too much and the only thing I can do is begin praying.

Sometimes I pray for half and hour, sometimes an hour.  Sometimes I drift in and out of sleep and prayer in a seamless journey through the night.  But inevitably the promise of Philipians 4:6,7 proves true: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus“.

Sometimes it takes half an hour, rare times maybe 2 hours, but the peace of God always comes.  I believe in the importance of a disciplined prayer and devotional life, waking up early, etc.  But the impromptu prayer times of the wee hours of the night can also be times when we experience the Father’s embrace in a wonderful way.  And I’m so thankful He’s there because tomorrow I’m going to need a lot of energy… sufficient to each day are the evils thereof.

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