Wednesday, April 20, 2011

At Night

Since entering my middle years, I've had a hard time sleeping. I wake up at two or three in the morning and my mind races. I worry. I fret. I think about things I have no control over and even though I tell myself that worry is a useless endeavor, I just keep right on doing it.

Very occasionally I pray. I suppose I'm telling myself it's the perfect antidote to worrying.

My prayers at that hour go something like this – "Dear God, here I am. Not sleeping again. Do you think there's something you could do about that? . . . I'm still waiting. . ."

And then, suddenly one night my breath was knocked from my chest and a story I learned as a child came rushing back.

“There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God.”

I took a deep breath of panicky dismay.

I'm him.

I'm Nicodemus.

You see, just like me, Nicodemus only came to Jesus at night.

When the noise of the day was over, when he was left alone with his thoughts, and the night invaded his soul, that’s when he found Jesus. That was when he admitted he needed Jesus.

I’m no different.

It is in the night that I want to talk to Him. That's the time I feel the need to share my fears and dreams, and hear to listen for his whisper, “I love you.” I want to know he and I… that we’re good. It is in these dark hours, I sit beneath the cross, staring up at the lifeless form of my king, and I thank him for all he’s done for me. I stare past the crown of thorns at the dark sky, and notice the solemn twinkle of each star. I wonder how far away each star is, and I marvel at the greatness of creation. I wonder at the immensity of his plans.

And in the morning, I go to work.

I forget about the night-time conversations.

I forget about the cross, the crown of thorns, the solemn stars.

I forget about Jesus.

And here I am in this Holy Week, hearing the Easter message. Here I sit beneath the cross. I thank God for all my blessings. And then, by Thursday surely I will deny that he deserves a place in my day.

And, God forbid, that he deserves a place in the immensity that is the rest of my life.

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