It was the moment I dreaded every night. My teeth were brushed. My pajamas were on. I'd had a hug and a kiss from Mom and Dad. Then, after I'd climbed under the covers, my mom would switch off the light and close the door.
"Goodnight," she'd say. But in my opinion, there was nothing "good" about the night.
It was so dark in my room! At first I thought that having a night light would help. But the light from the night light was eerie. And my furniture cast ghostly shadows in that pale, yellow glow.
Maybe you understand the way I used to feel. Maybe you've felt that way yourself - in your own room or in an unfamiliar place. The dark just seems scary sometimes.
Actually, I thought I'd always be scared of the dark until I ran across a verse in the Bible one day. "Whither shall I go from thy spirit?" the writer asked God. "Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? ... 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" (Ps. 139:7, 11, 12).
I loved what this passage told me about God's nearness to me. "How could I be outside Your presence?" this verse asks. But what the writer actually seemed to be saying is this: "How could I be in a place where I couldn't feel Your love, since no matter what time of day or night, You are always with me?"
The writer then added something pretty radical. "If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me," he wrote. And then, "the night shineth as the day."
To me, this is the point these statements were making: that "darkness" can be seen as a way of thinking. Dark thinking is fearful or worried or sad thinking. It's thinking that doesn't come from God.
But the good news is that God's love is so big and full of light that there just isn't any room for darkness. There's no place for even the tiniest little dark thought since God, who is Love itself, fills all space.
The writer's promise is that "the night shall be light about [you]." So what kind of thoughts do you think turn the night into day? Maybe the fact that God, your Father-Mother, is always with you. Maybe that there has never been a moment when you haven't been wrapped in God's love. Maybe the promise that Love is loving you all the time, no matter where you are or what you're doing.
Christ Jesus knew the promise of keeping your thoughts close to God's love for you. "I am the light of the world," he told the people that followed him. "He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12).
To me what Jesus was saying is that if we live the way he did - trusting that God is always with us and helping us - then we'll be less likely to be fooled by the darkness. A lot of the things Jesus had to see every day were things that might seem pretty dark. He saw people who were sick or dying or who were living evil lives. But what did Jesus do? He healed these people. It must have taken a real trust in the light - a real understanding of God's ever-present love - in order for Jesus to do that.
What comforted me was when I realized that I could trust in the light, too. When I'd start feeling scared, I'd think about God instead. At first, I just believed that He loved me. But after a while, I really felt that love. From then on, it didn't matter how dark my room was - or what dark thoughts tried to seem real. I knew that the light of Love was keeping me safe.
The light of Love is there for you, too. Of course, it's not the same kind of light that comes from an overhead light or the kind that twinkles in a night light, either. But that's because this light is a feeling - the feeling that you're being hugged by Love. And in this Love, there just isn't any room for darkness.
In God there is no night,-
Truth is eternal light,
A help forever near....
Mary Baker Eddy
(founder of the Monitor)