The Dread of Night
For a variety of reasons, whether single or married, nighttime for many is a daily chore to simply get through. The question is, what can we do about it? Is there a cure for the dread of long evening hours? Many of us seek a remedy by observing what others do. And we ask our friends how they spend their evenings in hopes of learning something we’ve somehow missed. Here’s some of what we’re told:
Downtime—are you kidding me? By the time dinner is
cleaned up and the kids are in bed, I’m too tired to do anything but jump in bed and read for a few minutes until I drift off.
After the dishes are done, Ben and I will take a walk, but if it’s raining, we’ll play a game or pick out a movie to watch. I make a few phone calls, and then I catch up on emails and maybe pay some bills.
Evenings at home? I can’t even tell you the last time I was home much before bedtime. I have church activities two or three nights a week, and the other nights I go to the gym and then meet a friend for dinner.
It all sounds so simple, but somehow, for whatever reason, those activities don’t work for us the way they work for others. I am baffled by—and not a little bit envious of—those who can slip so easily from day into night. Why can’t I find a routine that works for me—some rhythm of life in which joy, peace, and a sense of well-being don’t depend on daylight? Some of us are stuck at this very point.
Stuck in the Dark
Nighttime “stuckness” doesn’t happen overnight. Chances are, the reason we are stuck today is that somewhere along the way, earlier on, we made a choice to cope with evening loneliness by simply escaping the problem altogether. Rather than turn to the Lord for help, we turned to television.
Or perhaps we did turn to the Lord, but our cries for help seemed unanswered so in frustration or discouragement we turned to food or alcohol or sleeping pills or to a relationship that falls outside of biblical bounds. And now, after weeks or months or even years of indulging our particular form of escape, we can’t imagine for ourselves anything different. If that’s where we find ourselves today, no doubt we are miserable. That’s because, rather than escape the darkness, we have actually entrenched ourselves in it.
But those in Christ don’t belong there, because God “has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Col. 1:13). Once our spiritual darkness ends, nighttime darkness loses its former power too. The dark of night has no more say over us. We have a choice. When it comes to our well-being, night can be the same as day. Look at what Jesus said: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Day or night, Jesus is our light.
So we have nothing to fear when the sun goes down. If we count ourselves among those united to Christ yet we continue to escape reality by numbing ourselves at the end of each day, how did we end up in this place? If he is our light, what is there to fear about nighttime? Listen to the psalmist as he sings praise for God’s very personal care:
Even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you. (Ps. 139:12)
This article is adapted from Finding God in My Loneliness by Lydia Brownback.
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