As I repose ready to drift off, the chorus of chirping and croaking ceases. The bush is pitch black and deadly still. The stillness then is broken by a screeching sound.
Is it some cat in a tussle with a black mumba or some other snake? Is it some cicada-like insect that, as it darts through the dark night, emits this shrill sound? I don’t know, but I do know “it” is out there. I have heard it again and again.
I also know something else is out there. And it is far more menacing and unnerving than the repetitive screech from the unknown source.
I know very well the source of this haunting, loathsome thing. As it hounds me, howling like a baying cur, I shrink back. And it is not just “out there.” It harasses me, dogging my steps, nipping at my heels.
What is this–some fanciful tale from African folklore? What beast could this be, you ask? It is the beast within me. I can remember well the words and the incidents, some fresh from perpetration while others long since past, yet remembered.
The screeching bush sound disturbs my sleep but little. I am well separated from whatever it is. But as to this other, it is quite different. I am not separated from it. It is with me not only in my room but in my life, and it lurks within me while I try to sleep. But my memory is good, and the beast comes floating back like wretched debris from some nautical disaster washing up again and again and again on the shore of my conscious thoughts.
The sole comfort is “the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 Jn. 1:7). This I need to hear and read. To be reassured I need to hear it also from others than myself.
The blood of Jesus his Son cleanses . . . gives me peaceful sleep. This satisfies the longing for rest and the yearning for rightness with God. This solves the problems of fearful and fitsome sleep. Surpassing all human understanding, this has power that words cannot convey–and yet these words do.
Of course, they are not mere words, for with them comes the very author Himself to apply them to my heart as sweet balm to a grievous wound.
My memory is good, but I need to read and hear and ponder ever anew the words that pierce the darkness with the Light: “The blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”
Perfect love does indeed cast out fear. He loves perfectly–He loves me, the imperfect and stress-torn. Such things are dispelled and supplanted by words of grace.
And one day He who has so lovingly spoken will evict once and for all the beast I so despise.
–Missionary David Koenig