Mental overstimulation, fear of isolation, and/or concerns about being victimized can sometimes bring heightened anxiety to nighttime hours. A victory over this kind of disturbance brings more than a restful sleep. It helps to diminish the superstitious beliefs that associate darkness with evil. Distressing notions about darkness have no power in the light of a spiritual understanding of God's uninterrupted love for His children.
This love is active, tender, universal, generous, and discernible at all times. God never sleeps, punches out, shuts down, or goes off-line. He imparts, incessantly, all that is needed to preserve our eternal, happy survival as His blessed child. Spiritual reasoning leads to the conclusion that no matter when troubled feelings may arise, God is able to make His presence known. He is always able to bring enduring relief and divine counsel to any situation.
A hymn found in the "Christian Science Hymnal" offers this promise:
So brightly burns Love's holy glow,
So constant shines its light,
That none can claim he doth not know
The pathway through the night,
For see, 'tis lit by Love divine
To trace for us His wise design.
Over a period of about a year, I would sometimes wake up in the middle of the night, feeling an intense pain. I was grateful to be able to call a Christian Science practitioner, who was very patient with my calls to pray for me at those late hours. He always assured me that God was caring for me. Then we would hang up so that we could turn to God in prayer. Sometimes the pain would linger for a while, but it always abated, and I would be able to rest again. One particular night, I woke with the pain and was about to call the practitioner, when I was stopped with a new idea that came very strongly: "You have come through this before; you know you are not really in any danger."
Whatever the hour, I realized that God was with me and that, right at that moment, I didn't need anyone else to tell me so. I felt peaceful and embraced in God's love. There was no need to wake the practitioner. I then fell asleep. When I woke in the morning, the pain was gone. This happened several years ago, and I've never suffered in that way again.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Monitor's founder, showed the relationship between fear and illness, and how to remove the fear, when she wrote, "... fear is formed unconsciously in the silent thought, as when you awaken from sleep and feel ill, experiencing the effect of a fear whose existence you do not realize; but if you fall asleep, actually conscious of the truth of Christian Science, - namely, that man's harmony is no more to be invaded than the rhythm of the universe, - you cannot awake in fear or suffering of any sort" ("Retrospection and Introspection," pg. 61).
The tree doesn't lose its leaves just because the sun has gone down. Likewise, Spirit sustains us even when it may seem as though we've rolled into darkness. God's comforting, efficient government of the universe never stops. Divine Love assures us that we are never truly in the dark - never cut off from God's precious mercy and guidance. We don't have to fear losing sight of His loving, leading ways. The more we identify ourselves as God's beloved offspring, through sanctified thinking and living, the more we will feel like children of Light - perpetually safe and satisfied in His care. Feelings of vulnerability and burden fade away with the recognition of the constancy of divine Love.
If I say, Surely the
darkness shall cover me;
even the night shall be light
about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the
night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are
both alike to thee.
Psalms 139:11, 12
(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor