Have you ever been scared of the dark?
This seems to be my children’s perpetual problem at bedtime. I’m not quite sure how it all started. But my daughter has always had a vivid imagination. Perhaps it had been the rowdy games at school which she despised or the silly scare tactics that I overheard from one of the babysitters one time. Pretty soon, her younger brother has caught on. It is astonishing how phantasmagoric visions of horror begin to cloud their minds when the lights are out.
Often feeling cross at how they seemingly always want to stall sleeping schedules like oddly timed requests for cold water and countless bathroom visits, I take the bare minimum responsibility of at least praying with them. I pray for restful sleep, without nightmares about monsters, witches, or ghosts. As an older person, this seems routinary and even ridiculous to me at times. But little fears are real fears, no matter how childish they appear. And I often fail to remember that.
I then realized how I have offered my children impossible guidelines to follow — ignore the bad images and dwell on the good things. Night after night, I offer them with hopeless answers. And I was confronted with rules that even I cannot fulfill. I was handing out the Law without properly giving them the motivation that should be rooted in the Gospel. I took it upon myself to show them that true and good reason why we are no longer fear the darkness of the night because God’s glory has now appeared in the Son! I assured my children that Christ has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and have transferred us into the kingdom of his marvelous light, where we have redemption and the forgiveness of sins. Because this grace that has now been revealed to us his children, we are then called to shine forth as lights in the darkness, reflecting the glory of God for which we are originally created to enjoy.
Doing good doesn’t save anyone. Jesus, the only one that is Good, had to take upon himself the utterly bad, that is sin. Because Jesus is infinitely good to us by taking away the greatest bad, we are now able to do proper good. Because Jesus took away the greatest bad, we can now enjoy his goodness. Jesus not only takes away the darkness, He is Light Himself. He is our constant. And he has promised to always be there.
Jonathan Edwards once said, “God is the highest good of the reasonable creature. The enjoyment of him is our proper; and is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Better than fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of any, or all earthly friends. These are but shadows; but the enjoyment of God is the substance. These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun. These are but streams; but God is the fountain. These are but drops, but God is the ocean.”
Now rest in these truths, and have a good night.