Tuesday, July 19, 2016


I’ve heard several versions of this story. The location details  vary, but the point of the true story is always consistent. 

During the bombing of London in World War II, many young children were temporarily sent off to the English countryside to live in safety with rural families until the danger of aerial attacks on the cities would pass. They had experienced "the terror by night" of Psalm 91:5.

Everyone was living in austerity and food supply was 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, at night they seemed fearful 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 dinner, and their tummies were full, at bedtime 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. If they awakened during the night, the assurance of being able to touch and taste and smell the bread gave them the comfort they needed. It was a "pacifier" to bring them peace through the dark night.

I tried to build on that analogy in my life. 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 with the provision of our Heavenly Father. It becomes my "spiritual pacifier."
That "piece of Bread" might be a phrase from a Bible verse I select from my nightly Scripture readings. Or even one word that has some spiritual impact for me. Or a phrase from a hymn or a few words from a prayer. Something to sink my spiritual teeth in, to chew on by repeating over and over with my lips or in my mind in silent contemplation--some portion of fresh bread to hold on to through the night. A bedtime snack, as it were. 

David the Psalmist-King repeatedly mentioned how during the day and then all through the night he meditated on his bed about God and His goodness. "I will bless the Lord who has counseled me, indeed, my mind instructs me in the night, I have set the Lord continually before me...my flesh also will dwell securely" (Psalm 16:7-9).

What I think about just prior to drifting off to sleep is incredibly critical. It becomes part of my subconscious and even affects my dreams. Unfortunately, my 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 deep, quality sleep. I confess that I’ve too often read far into the night, even beyond midnight, enticed by a dramatic novel. I’ve tried to break that habit and make my last thoughts before bedtime the kind 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 our Heavenly Father to guide me in choosing just the right piece of nightly bread before bedtime each night to sustain me. Jesus declared Himself the Bread of Life. With my mind anchored upon Him and His Word, such nourishment truly becomes “Wonder Bread.”

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