I went camping with my wife and 7-month-old baby this weekend, and as you probably have already guessed just by reading that opening, it was somewhere around 2:00 AM that I awoke to the feeling of my feet getting wet from the puddle slowly seeping into our tent as a result of the storm around us. It was somewhere around 2:01 AM that I started making
a list of all of the places I'd rather be: on a beach in Hawaii, for example, or perhaps that spot in New Zealand where they shot the Lord of the Rings movies (preferably the area with the cozy hobbit holes, not the part with the active volcanos, but frankly I'd take what I could get).
Mostly I just wanted more than anything to be home sleeping in my own bed. And I remembered a line from a hymn I sang when I was young: "Teach me to live, that I may dread | the grave as little as my bed". I sure wasn't in mortal danger that night. The worst thing that could happen to me was a crying baby or soggy socks. But I clung to the idea of a bed as a place of comfort, even when present circumstances were frightening or challenging or unavoidable. And if God can teach us that even death is nothing to dread, a place of rest before resurrection, surely I could stick it out in that tent. In the morning, I looked up the rest of the hymn:
All praise to thee, my God, this night,
for all the blessings of the light!
Keep me, O keep me, King of kings,
beneath thine own almighty wings.
Forgive me, Lord, for thy dear Son,
the ill that I this day have done,
that with the world, myself, and thee,
I, ere I sleep, at peace may be.
Teach me to live, that I may dread
the grave as little as my bed.
Teach me to die, that so I may
rise glorious at the judgment day.
O may my soul on thee repose,
and with sweet sleep mine eyelids close,
sleep that may me more vigorous make
to serve my God when I awake.
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
praise him, all creatures here below;
praise him above, ye heavenly host;
praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.