Nightly Trust

Nightly Trust

Nightly Trust.

“Into your hands, O Lord, I commit my spirit; for you have redeemed me, O Lord, O God of truth.

Keep us, O Lord, as the apple of your eye; hide us under the shadow of your wings.” 

(The first line of this night prayer stanza is quoted from Psalm 31:5, and the second line is from Psalm 17:8. This complete stanza is prayed immediately preceding the Lord’s Prayer in the night service of prayers, the Compline).

Remember the “trust fall” during those group activities intended to develop cohesion and teamwork? The person in the center of the circle of teammates closed his eyes and fell back blindly, trusting that a team member would catch him before he hits the ground. The opening line of this stanza invites us to lean back into the arms of God, trusting that He will protect us from harm during the night when we are most vulnerable. Despite the “perils and dangers of this night,” we have faith that God won’t drop us, He won’t leave us flailing in the darkness. It is a great leap of faith when we can have complete trust in the Lord, who is our support and sure defense. To commit our spirit into the safekeeping of Jesus when everything is outside our control, that is faith indeed, that is a meaningful commitment.

Into Your Hands. The first line in this prayer of faith was quoted by Jesus on the  Cross, and was His last prayer before He died. (Luke 23:46). St. Stephen also cried this verse out loud while he was being stoned to death. (Acts 7:59). In fact, church history has revealed that many martyrs had these same words on their lips before they were executed. These words point to a tremendous amount of faith while experiencing the ultimate trust fall. The children’s night prayer says much the same thing: “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”

Redeemed. Yes, we have been redeemed by the God of truth. We have been ransomed from slavery to sin and the penalty of sin. We have been bought with a price and have received our first installment of salvation. But we nonetheless await complete redemption in the Kingdom. Our final deliverance will come as we await our full salvation. We have been saved, we are being saved, we will be saved. The mystery of redemption in all three senses. And yes, God is perfectly trustworthy. The Hebrew word for truth can also mean faithfulness. We can freely and fully entrust our very life breath to God, because He is faithful and true to His word. He will protect our soul during the night time dangers.

Apple of the Eye. In ancient times, the pupil of the eye was often called the apple of the eye, the round dark center of the eyeball. In Hebrew, the apple of the eye was literally the “little man of the eye,” the tiny reflection of yourself one sees reflected in the center of the eye. O that we could be so close to God, so intimate, that we could see our reflection in His eye. We would then know that God was keeping an eye on us, He would be watching us closely to protect and guard us. We would then know that we are precious in His sight, a cherished object of His delight and affection. Look upon us during the night as we sleep, Lord. Take notice of us and protect us through the night. Be so close to each of us that we would see ourselves reflected in your eyes, the apple of your eye. “Protect us from harm; keep an eye on me like you would a child reflected in the twinkling of your eye.” (Psalm 17:8, TPT).

Wings. At creation, “God’s Spirit brooded like a bird above the watery abyss.” (Genesis 1:1, MSG). Since the beginning of time, God has kept us under His wing, like a momma bird in the nest hovering over her little ones. We believe that He will protect us as He spreads His wings over us. God continues to be a shelter as we rest patiently under His wings, keeping our souls from mortal danger. O Lord, hide us in your outstretched wings, protecting us and keeping the enemy from assaulting us during the night. You are our refuge, a God who keeps us under your wings. Thank you, dear God.

A Night Prayer in the Compline:

“Be our light in the darkness, O Lord, and in your great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of your only Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.”