Perhaps there is some time-space continuum operating in the dark of the night? Bear with me for a moment, but if you have ever had trouble sleeping, you might know what I mean. What about gazing at the digital clock at 2 am that causes time to slow down to a crawl? The minutes creep by, and yet sleep does not arrive. Maybe, you start trying to figure out how much sleep you could still get before the alarm goes off at 6, but strangely these calculations only make it worse.
And just as you roll over again and try to get comfortable, you remember something urgent that you might have forgotten. Did I answer that critical email? Did I send in the check this month? Did I order the shipment, so it gets here on time? Once these concerns begin to roll out, they gain momentum. Train cars buckled together, pulling more of the “to-do list“ items down a steep track toward derailment.
Praising God in these moments is the last thing on my mind.
In the dark of night, before the dawn
My soul, be not afraid
For the promised morning, oh how long
Oh God of Jacob, be my strength
We will feast in the house of Zion
We will sing with our hearts restored
He has done great things, we will say together
We will feast and weep no more
Every vow we’ve broken and betrayed
You are the faithful One
And from the garden to the grave
Bind us together, bring shalom
“We Will Feast in the Zion” by Sandra McCracken
There is something gloriously defiant about this song because it challenges me to praise God in the dark of night. Even when I break vows and make mistakes, this song points to the future feast for every believer and calls us to praise God for the glorious future ahead. It is a glimpse into the ultimate banquet with Jesus in the heavenly realms when everyone and everything will be made right.
In Psalm 34, David seeks to praise God after a very dark night.
1I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2 My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad. 3 Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together! (Psalm 34:1-3 ESV)
What does it look like to repeatedly praise God in the dark of the night?
A family member of mine is struggling in a season of suffering. I’ve noticed how the more she repeats her complaints and aggravations, the more frustrated she becomes. Honestly, this can be a familiar way for me to handle frustration. Am I repeating the negativity to anyone who will listen in the name of venting?
What if I chose to take a break from that and intentionally praise the Lord?
Could I make a list of thanksgivings?
Could I boast about the Lord and share those words with friends and family?
Am I telling stories of praise in the dark of the night, or am I repeating my persecutions?
4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. (Psalm 34:4-5 ESV)
In the dark of the night, if I seek Him and look to His face, will I begin to reflect the light of His radiance? What if I declared a promise like Psalm 34:4 over myself in those difficult moments?
In the dark of the night, I will seek the Lord, who will answer me and deliver me from all my fears.
6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. (Psalm 34:6-7 ESV)
In the dark of the night, what if I take a moment to picture those angels the Lord has encamped around me?
Even when I can’t see what God is doing in the spiritual realms, could I ask the Holy Spirit to let me catch a glimpse?
8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! 9 Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! 10 The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. (Psalm 34:8-10 ESV)
Can I remember whom the LORD says I am in the dark of the night?
- His saint
- One who lacks nothing
- One who can take refuge in Him
- One who can taste and see His goodness
As one redeemed in Christ Jesus, I am a saint—not based on getting it all right but because my identity comes from the Lord. I will lack nothing that I need, and the Lord will always provide refuge for me to run to and rest.
Today, I will choose to seek the one who knows my soul and loves me so deeply. In seeking Him, He will be found, and I will be changed forever.