Thursday, June 7, 2012


 A Nourishing Bedtime Snack

            I’ve heard several versions of this story. The location details may vary, but the point of the true experience is always consistent.
            During the bombing of London during World War II, young children were temporarily sent off to the English countryside to live safely and out of danger with other families. Everyone was living in austerity and food supply was scarce and rationed. The children were fretful, nervous, and distraught by separation from their parents and families. Their sleep was filled with nightmares. Although they were provided with food during the daylight hours, they seemed to be afraid that there might not be anything for them to eat in the morning.
            Their surrogate caring families finally found a loving way to alleviate their anxiety. Although they had eaten before bedtime and their tummies were full, their hosts gave each child a substantial hunk of bread to hold in his hands through the night. Thus the young ones were assured that they would have something in the morning, and if they woke up during the night, the assurance of being able to touch and taste and smell the bread gave them the comfort they needed.
            I have tried to build on that spiritually in my own life. In the latter season of my life it is more common to find it difficult to go to sleep. Or to stay asleep. Or to go back to sleep after I've been interrupted by a bathroom break. So upon going to bed, I deliberately “hold” a piece of spiritual Bread in my heart and mind in order to “eat” it during the night if I awaken and to comfort and assure me that I will be kept safely through the night by the provision of my Heavenly Father.
That piece of Bread might be the phrase of a Bible verse I’ve selected from the nightly Scripture readings. Or even one word that has spiritual impact for me. Or some phrase from a hymn or a prayer. Something to sink my spiritual teeth in, to chew on by repeating over and over by my lips or in my mind in silent contemplation.  Some portion of fresh bread to hang on to every night. King David the Psalmist repeatedly mentioned how during the day and then all through the night he meditated on his bed about God and His goodness.
What I think about just prior to drifting off to sleep is incredibly important. It will become part of my subconscious and even mingle with my dreams. Unfortunately, a lifelong habit has been to read myself toward drowsiness, sometimes with light fiction so as not to tax my brain too heavily and prevent the onset of quality sleep. I confess that I’ve too often read far into the night, even beyond midnight, enticed on by the exciting drama of a novel. I’ve had to break that habit and make my last thoughts before bedtime those that focus on God, my Provider and Sustainer, and His words, which make for a much more peaceful night.
            As Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” so I ask the Father to direct me in choosing just the right piece of nightly bread to sustain me. Such nourishment truly becomes “Wonder Bread” to me.

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