When my oldest son was a baby there was a stuffed angel I would place in his crib as I laid him down to sleep. If you were to squeeze the angel’s belly, it would speak this prayer in the soft, innocent voice of a child.
Through the years, it was a prayer I often whispered over my baby’s, many nights with tears. Laying them down to sleep was an act of trust. What if they woke with cries I couldn’t comfort? Far worse, what if I laid them down to a sleep from which they’d never wake?
During the day, I cared for and protected my babies as best as I was able. But every night darkness crept in and I placed them softly in their beds, knowing that soon, I, too, would surrender to the unconscious vulnerability of sleep. The plans I had for tomorrow would wait as we slept.
My mother’s heart wept this weekend as I heard of so many broken families yielding young lives over to eternal rest. Mothers who once kissed soft downy heads are now forced to release babies into a sleep from which they’ll not wake.
They spent their days loving, nurturing, hoping, and planning. Twilight edged out day. Hope-filled dreams drift away, a vapor that can’t be caught. The darkness of their night is unimaginable. Every plan, every dream, every hope they nurtured in the light of day is over.
Facing this darkest of nights, how will they endure?
Perhaps only in knowing that the One who keeps us through the vulnerability of night does not sleep. When plans are shattered and hearts are broken, know that all which has been given to Him, He will keep.
The hands that knit together those you love, will hold you, even in the darkest grave. Deep blackness is not dark to Him. The One whose hands form life in the secret places, He knows your days and they are precious to Him. When your loves lay down for the final sleep, He will be there in the going out. Souls given to Him to keep will find that their goings out are a coming in, as the One who keeps us all our days brings us to Himself.