Monday, March 31

by Jerry Jernigan
"Peace Through the Night"

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear.  –Matthew 6:25

 And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.             –Matthew 28:20

Merriam-Webster says “worry” means “to think about problems or fears: to feel or show fear and concern because you think that something bad has happened or could happen.” Well, here is the truth of the matter: I worry. I cover it up pretty well but I worry all the time.

Some of my worries are understandable. Will we ever live in peace? Why don’t we devote more resources to alleviating homelessness? Will my children live the lives I wish for them?

And some worries are embarrassingly trivial! Is there enough milk in the fridge for my coffee and cereal tomorrow morning? Will that commentator ever realize how foolish his commentary is? Will rain cause me to alter my outdoor plans?

I have lived long enough to know, I think, a proper response to these kinds of worries. The serenity prayer helps. Also, it helps to laugh at myself!

But these worries are not the ones that most shatter my peace.  The worries that do that don’t occur often but when they do, it’s usually around 2:00 or 3:00 a.m.  They take the form of anxiety over, really a fear of, loneliness. Now, I have family and friends who provide love and community for which I am so grateful. But this fear of loneliness, of being “separate from,” is one no human can dispel. It is a soul loneliness I fear.

And it is then, at 3:00 in the morning, after some tossing and turning, that I whisper the prayer Jesus taught his disciples to pray so long ago. I may recite the 23rd Psalm or recall the verses from Matthew quoted above. Or, I may simply ask God to help me, to be with me.  And somewhere along the way, I fall asleep.

Sometimes, in the morning, before I am up and heading to the coffee maker, I’ll lie still and remember the night, my anxious feelings and my prayers. I’ll wonder why I fretted so. And I will say a prayer of gratitude that a Creator beyond my understanding, one embodied in Jesus of Nazareth, one we know as the Holy Spirit, stayed with me through the night and brought me peace.

Lift in prayer today
Epiphany School, helping children who deal with Asperger’s Syndrome