Somehow over the last several months (years?) I’ve developed a tendency to wake up once or twice during the night. Friends tell me it’s part of “middle age.” I always have to get up and go to the bathroom when I wake up, and often I stumble back to bed and fall right back to sleep. But other times I’m awake for an hour or so. That’s not too much of a problem these days since at this point in my life I can catch a nap during the day if I need to, unless I need to be up at a certain time, or it’s a Saturday night and I really want to get back to sleep so I can stay awake in church the next day.
But I have learned that stewing over being awake is no way to get back to sleep. Sometimes I think, often I pray, and if my husband is not in bed I’ll turn the radio on with the “sleep” button that lets it play for an hour.
Recently when I turned the radio on in the night, the station was playing the old Unshackled program featuring stories of people whose lives had been changed through the ministry of the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago.
That really took me back. When I was a new Christian in the 70s, I’d often turn the radio on when I first went to bed. Unshackled played, as well as The Quiet Time with Albert H, Salter, Joseph Barclay as the soloist, and Lorin Whitney at the organ, Nightsounds with Bill Pearce, and the Haven of Rest Quartet program.
At that time we had just moved to Houston and away from familiar places and friends, my parents had just divorced, I had recently been saved and my family was not particularly interested, and these programs met a deep need in my life. Maybe Albert Salter and Bill Pearce just had particularly soothing voices, or maybe because these program were on late at night they were designed to be soothing and peaceful, but they definitely poured balm on my troubled soul. I’m so grateful they were there for me and for others. The Quiet Time was still on until fairly recently, and it always warmed my heart to hear those familiar voices.
I know the Bible wasn’t primarily referring to Christian radio or recorded music when it said “God my maker…giveth songs in the night” (Job 35:10) or “Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life” (Psalm 42:8), but He certainly used them to minister to me.
I still love those programs though they’re considered old-fashioned now. And I love a lot of new music that is being produced now and has been since then.
I hope my children and loved ones know that in their deepest needs, in the “night,” literally or figuratively, they can find His songs, His peace, His comfort and instruction. And of course there is music for life’s highest joys as well, and everything inbetween.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me. Psalm 63:5-8
1 I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice; and he gave ear unto me.
2 In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted.
3 I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah.
4 Thou holdest mine eyes waking: I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
5 I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times.
6 I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.
7 Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more?
8 Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore?
9 Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah.
10 And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High.
11 I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.
12 I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.
13 Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?
14 Thou art the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people.