Now I Lay My…
Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you (I Peter 5:7–NIV).
No–the title isn’t a typo, though I know what many might be thinking.
Shouldn’t it be ‘Now I lay ME…’–as in the opening line of Joseph Addison’s famous prayer written in 1711?
Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. His love to guard me through the night, and wake me in the morning’s light.
Many of us said these words, or some variance of this prayer, when we were young–likely a mom or a dad, perhaps blessed with both, sitting on the edge of our beds joining us in this petition. Then we’d snuggle in and drift to sleep.
It’s a good prayer, don’t get me wrong. It asks a good and faithful Father to bring us from nighttime to daytime in safety, that we might see again the morning light. The version I grew up praying even went one step further–asking that He’d…
When in the morning light I wake, help me the path of love to take.
And that’s what most of us want, right? To wake each new day and be used by God to spread love in any manner to which He might call us?
But what if we’re paralyzed by fear? What if the weight of the world–the panic of pandemic–presses upon us, keeping us from being able to put one foot in front of the other? Maybe it’s even too hard to lift our heads, so we bury ourselves under our pillows instead, praying the nightmare will end.
What if I told you that what’s going on isn’t a nightmare–as dark as even the brightest of days might seem? What if, instead, you were told these days–this season–were filled with opportunity…
To show kindness.
To offer help.
To extend grace.
To reach out with love.
Because that’s what this time is, and such truth turns a bad dream into the reality of a good day. A day we can get out of bed for. A day we’re excited to wash our faces for. Twenty-four hours in which we can, even while practicing all manner of safety, look for chances to serve our neighbor. Love our enemy. Mend some fences–minding less the mistakes of others but instead, looking in the mirror and dealing with our own.
Time spent serving is time well spent. We’ll emerge from this season more seasoned–better prepared for the next time we face unpleasant circumstances, whatever that might be. Because, in truth, we will. That’s just how the story goes–until heaven.
Until then, to lessen our load that we might serve more freely, we pray…
Now I lay my __________________________ (fill in the blank with what’s weighing you down).
We must cast all our cares, anxieties, worries, and fears at Jesus’ feet–just as Peter proclaimed in his letter. He wrote these words specifically to offer encouragement to suffering Christians during a time of great persecution under the rule of Nero, a dark and devious emperor.
We fear COVID-19. We do–not to mention the possible fallout from it in days to come. Economically. Relationships globally. Long-lasting health concerns physically. To look too far ahead into the future, however, is to take our eyes off Jesus and look instead at the storm, and that’s when we drown.
Don’t do it, dear friends. Fix your eyes on Him. Fill up on His Word. Hide His promises in your heart. Turn up the praise and worship music, and get saturated with truth.
Did you know that there are many passages in the Bible that speak “Fear not… or “Be not afraid“? One could read a different one every day for more than a month, repeating the same passages the next month until they begin to settle in his or her heart. (That’s what happens when we read and reread God’s precious Word.)
One “Fear not…” verse a day will help us put one foot in front of the other once we emerge from the bed clothes, and those words of wisdom will enable us to walk–step by step–into the day, no matter what we might face. (To find them, just google “What does the Bible say about fear?” A plethora is sure to pop up!)
… Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9–NIV).
Let those words settle. Breathe in. Breathe out.
Okay. Only then can we walk through this season with the confidence that comes from Jesus–seeing others as He sees them; treating others as He would treat them; loving others as He loves them.
So, what do you need to lay at His feet that you might walk unencumbered, with confidence?
Now I lay my….
Go ahead. I’m right there with you. We’re all in this together, dear friends.
Never before do we have the opportunity to shine the light of Jesus in the darkness of despair. Just think of what might happen when this has passed us by, because it will. One day….
Until then, lay it down and live the love of Jesus–the One who embodies love.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear… (I John 4:18a–NIV).
Dear Jesus, You alone are perfect love. As I lay my fears, worries, and anxieties at Your feet–taking them all off–please clothe me instead in You. As You set me free from everything that entangles, help me then to love as You love… with NO FEAR. Amen!