Music for After-Hours Distress
Waking up at 3:00 a.m. in the morning is never on my schedule of things to do. So the night I awoke with the words of a familiar song running wild in my head left me wondering if this sudden awakening had something to do with what had taken place the day before. Earlier that day, I’d received news that the wife of a well-known figure in the publishing world had passed away. Since everything that happens to us has a cause and an effect, I settled on the obvious cause to me – the death of a believer. That was the only plausible explanation I could give as to why this song, of all the myriad songs I knew, turned my night into an after-hours concert.
Oh, when the saints go marching in, when the saints go marching in, Lord, I want to be in the number when the saints go marching in.
Over and over, the refrain appeared to take on permanent residence.
As I lay in the darkness, the words to the song did not escape my imagination, which by now was wide awake. I wondered what it would be like to hear the sound of numberless marching feet keeping in step with the song that played out in my head.
Oh, when the saints go marching in, when the saints go marching in…. Step by step by step…
The picture, and the imagined sound of a host of saints clad in white, briefly controlled the night while the quiet, steady rhythm of my heart joined in perfect syncopation.
Oh, when the saints go marching in, when the saints go marching in…Thump, thump, thump…And so it continued like the steady beat of a drum until sleep drifted in and turned off the sound.
The dawning of a new day brought renewed thoughts of the night before. I reflected on the songs that had always played a part in the lonely night time hours when anxious moments tried to keep me awake. But I also remembered those nights without a song, when there were no words to speak to my restlessness and no melody to lull me to sleep.
I’m grateful that those nights were few. Most nights when disturbing events of the day refused to go away, and I lay in the darkness with thoughts and heartbeat in serious overdrive, God always chose just the right song to meet whatever troubled me, and instead of counting sheep, I embraced His alternative to Ambien.
One night He chose one of my favorite songs to remind me of His faithfulness.
Great is Thy faithfulness, great is Thy faithfulness. Morning by morning new mercies I see…Great is Thy faithfulness, great is Thy faithfulness…
I wonder if they’ll find anything when I take the test tomorrow.
Great is Thy faithfulness, great is Thy faithfulness. All I have needed Thy hand hath provided …
Twenty two hundred dollars for car repairs. Where will I find the money for THAT! …
Morning by morning new mercies I see…All I have needed Thy hand hath provided…
It didn’t take long for my restless heart to get the message…Sorry, no sleepless night tonight. Steadily, gradually, a heart at ease adapted to the song’s comforting words; Great is Thy faithfulness…all I have needed…until the two beat as one; over… and over…one beat with one note, and then again until sleep came.
That God entertains my distresses with songs is a welcomed blessing for me because I know that songs for the darkest nights are divine favors as old as the book of Psalm* and as emancipating as Paul and Silas’s midnight songfest.
Since that night, there has not been a sudden middle of the night awakening where visions of marching saints paraded through my imagination, and a song of victory beat in unison with my heart. But I’ll never forget the image. It reminds me of the journey I’m on to a land where there is no night. And until then, whenever my heart is overwhelmed, and my restless mind seeks refuge from the cares of the day, God will repeat what He has done throughout time. He will give a song for my troubled nights and yours.
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