Most of the time, my hope is in Jesus. Other times? The ones I hate to admit, yet still occur? I hope for Jesus.
Which means that most of the time I believe He is right with me—by my side—His Holy Spiri
t filling me. And then there are those “3:00-In-The-Morning-And-I’m-Going-To-Die” moments. (Ok, hours)
The hours of darkness.
When I cannot feel His presence, remember His peace, or find His power. Some people experience it as worry or anxiety. For me, it comes roaring out of the darkness into stage four panic.
Having a panic attack, especially at 3:00 am, is like being woken up to getting punched in the stomach while being suffocated with a pillow.
The worst part isn’t even the racing heart or paralysis that takes over your body. It’s that you lose all rational thinking. Fragmented sentences, accusations, worries, and insults race toward me, tripping over one another in a frenzy to reach my mind and heart. In my frozen state, they find their target.
Sometimes the only word that comes to me amid all the noise is His name.
It is the prayer of the desperate.
Of the humbled.
Of the needy.
Panic, as with pain, worry, or grief, rarely allows for reason. It shuts out order and smothers strength. And sometimes we can only croak out a whisper in the madness. Oh, Jesus.
It’s not pretty. It’s not fluent.
But Jesus has never been interested in wordiness. He prefers honesty to eloquence every time.
In Scripture He tells a story about two men praying in a synagogue. One is a Pharisee who uses a lot of big words to express his big thoughts to a God he thinks is small enough to be impressed by his dog and pony show. The other is a tax collector who doesn’t offer more than a croak to a God who deserves so much more. But it’s a sincere croak.
And Jesus likes that.
I will never get used to the occasional nighttime visits from my friendly neighborhood panic attack. But it strips away any pretense between me and God. For that, I am grateful.
And when the panic dissipates, and my Savior finds me in the darkness and envelopes me with His serenity beyond understanding, I am awestruck by His goodness. And once more, this time in overwhelming gratitude, I whisper into the dark the only words my trembling lips can form;
Melissa Maimone is a Christian speaker and writer. She serves as the emcee and production manager at Seasons Weekend. To learn more about Melissa, visit her website at www.MelissaMaimone.com