I was exhausted by the end of the day. It was Sept. 11, and friends and family had been calling nonstop to check on our safety. And, like many others throughout the world, I had spent much of my day praying.
Why, as I lay in bed, was I unable to fall asleep? I could hardly keep my eyes open as I ate dinner. But now, under the comforter, the events of the day played - and replayed - through my mind. What if the terrorists had another plan of attack for that evening or the following day? Where did this idea of "hate" even come from? Were we more vulnerable to an attack because of where we lived? Would we ever really feel safe again?
All of these thoughts felt scary and unsettling, so I decided to pray to quiet my fears. Some ideas from the Bible helped to get my thought turned to hope and comfort:
"I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust."
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."
"...they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being;...."
(Acts 17:27, 28)
Fear turned to gratitude as I thought of all the expressions of Love being shown after the tragic events. The firefighters, police, and other rescue workers willingly entering this horrific scene to help and save others, concerned citizens providing funds and supplies, government officials' immediate - but not rash - response and comments. And prayers being offered by individuals and nations were providing solace and unity.
I remembered another time when I had been unable to fall asleep. I had recently moved to another state, to an apartment complex. The same week, several murders took place in that state. I was petrified at night. Was my apartment safe? Could someone enter by the patio door? Who exactly were my new neighbors?
After about a week of sleepless nights, I decided that I needed to be active about this fear - rather than sit up almost all night with all of my lights on. Though I'd locked all my doors, my thoughts still kept turning to these murders. I realized that I needed to feel a more permanent, strong security - one that I know to be God.
I found this assurance in the Bible: "I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety" (Ps. 4:8). The fear, and replaying of the news updates of these murders, could be silenced by peace. I decided not to watch the evening news reports, but to spend this time praying for humanity. The darkness of night could not remove God's presence. Love was all that was being expressed during the day and night because God is always present and caring for each of us.
As I changed my thought from fear to peace, I was able to get a night's sleep.
So now, remembering my past experience with fear and sleep, I turn to the source of all peace - God. I feel refreshed in the morning and begin each day with prayer and gratitude - for our community and all humanity. Nobody is excluded from this divine Love. And no situation can keep God from providing comfort, peace, and a sound sleep.
... Jesus, the model
of infinite patience, said:
'Come unto me, all ye that
labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.'
Mary Baker Eddy
(founder of the Monitor)