Treasures of Darkness

It’s 3am and blinding pain from one of my killer headaches wakes me from sleep. I stagger to the kitchen as quietly as possible and pour water into the Keurig to make a quick 20 oz of coffee. The only thing that helps.

The house is silent. Tom and Emily are  deep in sleep. I sit with the coffee, trying not to burn myself on the hot liquid–medicine for me that I can’t get down fast enough. I rock back and forth, back and forth in my rocker,  waiting for the moment when my head will ease.

The worst of the pain lets up, and I can think again. My mind drifts to each of my children and where they are in their lives.  The relief from the pain is growing, and every time, it brings tears to my eyes that I am feeling better. It’s some kind of response to the dissipation of pain and it happens every time. I pray for answers and help in our lives for a few minutes. Then I feel the need for a human voice. I pick up my phone next to me on the lamp table and find Alexander Scourby’s reading of the Psalms. The beauty and authority of his reading of Scripture is always a great comfort. I put my head back on the chair and listen to him begin.

 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.  And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.  For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Somewhere in the Psalms that continue in Scourby’s lovely voice , I drift off to the familiar cadences of those beautiful, ancient words.  Relief, peace, the sense that God is near.

I recently saw a painting that depicted Jesus sitting on a bench with a young man. It was supposed to represent heaven, and the young man appeared to be asking questions. It made me wonder if we will be able to ask the Lord questions about this life and why things were the way they were. All the seemingly pointless suffering, meaningless pain and hurt.  Then it occurred to me that if we were going to remember the bad in this life, it wouldn’t be much of a heaven. Every tear, Scripture tells us, will be wiped away in that place where there is no need of the sun, because the light of the Lamb will be enough.  No more darkness. No more night.

I can’t pretend to understand what all our pain means in this life, only that in the darkness, in the night watches there are unexpected shafts of light, reminders of God, the God beloved of the Psalmist who played his harp beneath the starry skies on the hills, who wrote the words we still know today. Maybe in the bright light of day we are too quick to forget God, and it’s only when He allows us to awaken with pain that we are reminded of His presence. When we’re always strong, and able, and go from strength to strength in our own might, we tend to forget Him.  In our great need, we are driven to remember our frailty, that we are dust, and that all we have comes from our Creator’s kindly hand.

In the night watches of our lives, help us to find the treasures of darkness, Heavenly Father. Because they are there, waiting for us.

And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness–secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name. ~ Isaiah 45:3







16 thoughts on “Treasures of Darkness

  1. Kathryn Moss says:

    Thank you, Ingrid….It is hard not to feel alone when we are the only person in the household awake. It’s a good reminder that God is always awake to our prayers.

  2. Judi Hayes says:

    Hard to type with tears in my eyes! But what an encouragement you have been to others because of the suffering you have shared with Christ.
    “But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy….Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” 1 Peter 4: 13, 19

    As Elisabeth Elliot so wisely noted, “Our suffering is not for nothing.”

  3. Beverley says:

    Once again in your time of pain the Lord has graciously led you to bring comfort to many.
    Thank you.
    Praying that you and your family are able to rest and heal.<3

  4. Rose says:

    Thank you for this beautiful post, Ingrid. I am often up into the wee hours alone due to insomnia and Lupus headaches. This really ministered to me. What a wonderful idea to listen to readings of the Psalms. I will find some to download soon. Thank you for sharing and I will be praying for you.

  5. paulasouthworth says:

    Thank you Ingrid. I also have been waking up at hours when the chickens are fast asleep. Pain. 1:30 am today. It’s now 4:45 pm. Ugh. My computer froze up earlier and I wanted to howl. “Why me? Why now? “. Your words are always welcome, and comforting.

  6. Becky says:

    “In the night watches of our lives, help us to find the treasures of darkness, Heavenly Father. Because they are there, waiting for us.” I like that!

  7. The Big Garden, Isle of South Uist says:

    [J] Interesting that you find coffee helps, as it’s generally thought that caffeine is a contributing factor in headaches. However I have myself found that the ritual of making a coffee is soothing, so perhaps the compromise – for headache times – is to have some caffeine-free coffee but the same rituals of making coffee, with caffeteire or whatever you do!

  8. Carolyn says:

    Oh Ingrid, I can empathize. I don’t often get those kind of headaches, but when I do, nothing will stop them except being away from all light and sound, and then putting ice on my head (I put cold packs all over my head). Those kind headaches are certainly debilitating. I am glad that the coffee and the word of God brought you comfort and relief.

  9. Ingrid says:

    Thanks to all for the kind comments. Carolyn, ice packs on my head help. I wish someone would invent a freezable hat you could freeze and then tie on. That would be wonderful to be able to have that surround my head! Yes, light and sound are the worst. It can hardly be dark enough. They last 3-5 days at a time. Anyway, soldiering on here best I can. You can’t walk around with a morphine IV, although I twice went in for that also which was instant relief.

  10. Carolyn says:

    Three to five days???? Oh mercy, I am so sorry! Mine don’t last more than a few hours once I do the “deep freeze”. Speaking of – your hat idea is brilliant. You should patent it!

  11. Rose says:

    My headaches seem to only come on in the evening, sometimes just minutes after my head hits the pillow and they prevent me from sleeping. Will keep me up all night. Nothing helps much except ice. I too wish I had an ice hat. I did find an ice strip (Walmart for only $4.99) that has straps with Velcro so you can strap it around your forehead. But it doesn’t stay cold long enough. As soon as it cools down, the headache returns. I guess should have bought two of these. One for my head and one to remain in the freezer so I can change them out when one is no longer effective. Maybe you should invent an ice hat, Ingrid, and market it…I would be your first customer! 🙂

  12. Ingrid says:

    Rose, I never heard of the ice strips. Why in the world has someone not developed something like that – that would stay cold and also could be strapped on. I’ve said that many times about heat packs. I used to have such terrible muscle pain in neck and back of my head with stress and they had these gel packs you could heat in the micro and you fit it inside this holder with velcro – it could be wrapped around your neck, and it was wonderful. Stayed hot a long time unlike the rice packs that get cold so fast and are damp. But mine exploded in the micro once (LOL) and then they stopped making them. Somebody probably sued the makers, and they can’t be found anymore. I have yet to find anything similar. The ice pack thing though with velcro, that is dreamy to think of one that would stay in place and stay cold. Ice helps inflammation and with half your head in anguish, ice is beautiful. Any inventors out there, you have customers ready to buy…

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