Jean Valjean could not close his eyes all night. Psalm 91 says that dwelling in God’s shelter will protect us from the fear in the night and the dying arrows in the day. JVJ was not walking in the promise.
I have lain awake through several nights in fear, anxiety, or even terror. In the middle of the night small concerns become terrible inevitabilities. It affords the perfect setting for crying out to God for help and learning to trust Him. “I will be with him in trouble,” Here in this chapter though, JVJ really was in trouble and so “He took her by the hand, and they both went out.”
I also find that the night magnifies the good ideas as well. I usually have ideas when I awake that are bold and beautiful. But in only a few hours the beauty fades and my ideas appear silly. It is the daily routine and my perceived expectations of others that I won’t step out of line too far that spoils the manna of the morning.
I awake with ideas about speaking out my love and appreciation in ways that are awkward. I have grand schemes for meetings and creative projects that could become reality if they had enough momentum and time to grow outside of that daily routine and common norm. I imagine generous sacrifices and acts of obedience that make the ideal seem quite possible in the early dawn. And though the actions often don’t follow the ideas, I am still strongly affected by those ideas in my heart, and like sitting in the sun, I am gradually day by day lifted up. Frequently then, because of my inward filling, I have a ready word of love in surprising moments when I let down my guard and act in the awkward.