1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; 3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. 4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. 5 God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns. 6 The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. 7 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. 8 Come, behold the works of the LORD; see what desolations he has brought on the earth. 9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. 10 "Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth." 11The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Amid everything that is happening in our world and in our lives, what keeps you up at night? I think that is an important question to ask. The things that keep us up at night tend to be the things that we are most concerned with now. If you are like me, you are up a lot at night.
When I lay my head on my pillow, I tend to fall asleep quickly but then wake up in the middle of the night because my brain is going a mile a minute. I think about how our lives have changed with covid-19. I miss the days when we could just go out and eat or shop or visit or go places without concern for masks or viruses. I long for the day when that will be possible again.
I think about the state of our nation during a hotly contested election cycle. I see neighbors putting up sign after sign indicating who they support. No surprise there are people who live next door to each other who support the opposite parties’ candidate. In some places it almost seems as if they are trying to “out sign” each other. I worry what will happen when the election is over. Will we be even more divided? Will we be even more hostile with each other?
I think about our community of faith, especially those who have not been able to worship for more than five months. People for whom worship was a regular part of life are not able to worship. I know that we are working on the Bring it home ministry and that gives me some comfort. I wonder how people are feeding their spiritual side, how they are enhancing their relationship with God and each other. Times are challenging enough without the regular nourishment and support of a worshipping community.
I think about the work to be done to imagine how our three congregations might come together as one unified congregation. There are so many good people working on the transitional team and subgroups. I wonder when we will be able to have town halls to talk about a single congregation and how we might officially come together for the sake of the Gospel. I know the angst people are feeling with all the potential changes, new traditions, possibly a new building, and staff changes.
And that does not even begin to highlight some of the more personal things I think about which keep me up at night. No wonder some days I feel like I did not sleep a wink the night before. And then I am reminded of the words of Psalm 46, be still and know that I am God. Those words have seen me through some of the most difficult times in my life.
We are so blessed that we can call on God during our times of joy and our times of need. By myself I can not solve all the issues that weigh heavily on my mind. God can handle all of them. God will carry me when I am weak as God carries you too. God does not forsake us and is always present with us to comfort us, to support us, to hold us up, and to love us.
I do not know what keeps you up at night, but I do know that God is with you in every sleepless moment. God is with you when you are celebrating and when you are grieving. God is with you when you are laughing and when you are crying. There is not one moment of your life when God is not with you. May God’s presence and strength be a source of comfort to you and guide you into peaceful rest.