Inspired by a young shipmate a few years ago, I lay in my rack, awake, wearing out a pencil. This guy asked me a question over dinner that rang in my mind, he reminded me of who I was.
I wrote him a nine-page letter that night, single-spaced and full of my heart. I thought I might read it for you this evening.
God thought better. He saw to it that my wife couldn't get it loaded and transmitted on the computer, and so you are saved from the bulk of it. What she did is read me the preamble, and I'd like to share it with you.
"Did you ever lay awake all night, terrified of yourself?"
My reply began:
Alone, I Once Lay In The Darkness
By David D. Hambleton
Quiet blackness crept upon me
It's hard to admit I handled it badly
The hum and rush of an electric fan
Consumed for the moment this eclectic man
The thoughts flew by going to and fro
Some nice, most not, the worst ones'd grow
Into helter-skelter shivering scenes
As I lay all but broken by not-quite dreams
Night pressed in. Shake it off, get some sleep.
Tossing and sweating, and wrestling the sheet
I'm no match for this boogey-man tonight
I'm even too tired to put up a fight.
So Imagination dragged me about
Visiting me with all my short-fallings out
Beating me senseless until I'd awake
Un-rested and bruised, convinced I'm a snake.
In faux-memories of what could have been
I said the right words again and again
But what I really said came back to haunt
Willfulness, Uncouth, and Pride stopped to taunt
Laughing at how they had done me this time
It could be they were right; I am only slime
In darkness; fear and reality are one
Oh, how my demons like to kick me for fun.
My struggles, you see, are not against flesh and blood,
but against rulers and princes over all this earth's mud
against devious powers of this world's dark spaces
and wicked spiritual forces in heavenly places.
Do you know Willfulness and Lust, Pride and Greed.
Murder, Adultery, and Deceit are of that breed.
Oh, don't forget Gossip and Bullying Brawling
Their condemnation brings on dizzying falling
I have felt the despair, nearly lost myself there
Beat down in their lies and accusing dark glare
But I've found a peace beyond all understanding
And quiet sweet sleep, dark attacks notwithstanding
Not that I have achieved or acquired or deserved,
No, not in any way by any act of my nerve;
I've been given a gift of the heart and the mind
I'll give it to you, if you'll give me the time.
Did you ever just wish for a moment of real peace
or some comfort at least?
Let me give you the Name by which all my pain eases
When you seek, you will find, only seek faith in Jesus.
He is the light of the world.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
He loves you.
God bless you a good night.