I remember as a child, age eight or nine, falling asleep in the living room while the rest of the family was still up watching television. I would fall asleep in this noisy, well lit, occupied room. Eventually, everyone else got tired, the TV was turned off and the living room was cleared out. I was left to sleep where I was on the couch, unaware that everyone had gone to bed.
I remember on these occasions, I would wake-up in the middle of the night and everything was so different compared to how it was when I fell asleep. Maybe somewhere in my consciousness, I was expecting to wake-up to everyone still sitting there. Instead, this great big, dark room with vaulted ceilings seemed to swallow me whole as I realized I was left there all alone. This icy, black expanse in the living room felt so lonely.
I’m sure the house itself made it easier to feel that way. It was an old house in Nevada that sat on a military base, which had become inactive years before. There were old sheets draped over the windows instead of curtains, furniture was scarce and bare, white walls kept the rooms separated instead of walls with family pictures that kept the family close. It wasn’t like my friend’s houses or the houses on TV. It was just blank. A house, but not a home.
I was always so persistent about having a nightlight in my room. It was a source of light, but also a source of comfort. So, if I woke up alone on the couch in the middle of the night, I longed for that little light in my room, but would also dread walking through the house in the dark to reach it. Finally, I would gather up the courage, get to my room, and soak up a little warmth from that nightlight.
Now, I can lay awake in the middle of the night after a difficult day, and still feel that same, familiar emptiness I woke up to as a kid bubbling up inside of me with feelings of being left behind—like the world went to bed without me.
I think sometimes we grow-up and we start to think we have it all together because we’re not afraid of the dark anymore. But the truth is, the darkness still makes us lonely and afraid sometimes. It’s just that maybe a giant, dark room isn’t what isolates us.
Whether or not I’m a child afraid of the dark, or a grown-up afraid of the pain, I hope it is always my first impulse to run toward the light for peace and warmth. We have a loving God who keeps us. So even in those times of quiet suffering, you and I always have a place to go for company, comfort and compassion.
I have heard some cynics say weak people just use Jesus as a crutch. I’m alright with crutches! Besides, haven’t you noticed how people on crutches seem to have doors opened for them all the time?
Anyway, kids aren’t wimps because they need nightlights and adults aren’t wimps because they need Jesus. It’s just the nature of this broken world and because the world is broken, we always need our need for Jesus.
Let’s be grateful for that need, because while Jesus is the biggest need we’ll ever have, He is so much bigger than anything, that He is not going to run out by the end of the month. You’re not going to run out of Jesus and be stranded in the middle of no where with no one to call. We run out of gas. We run out of time. We run out of money. Sometimes we even run out of clean socks, but God is never going to complain that we keep returning for more relationship with Him.
When we are weak, then we are strong–which means we are not strong because we are weak as much as we are strong when we admit our weakness to ourselves, then depend on God.
That little girl I used to be, gazing into my nightlight for an escape from the big, bad darkness finally grew up. Now I’m so blessed because I have a nightlight (don’t judge me) and Jesus!
This is just a little, long reminder today that it is ok to be in touch with your need for a “nightlight” or “crutches”.
“Trust in the LORD forever, For in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock” (Isaiah 26:4 NASB).