When God set the stage for life on earth, He pulled back the curtain of darkness. Into a black void, He said, “‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” But God did not completely do away with darkness; He had a purpose for it. Setting the earth in perfect rotation and stringing constellations across the sky, He created day and night so that we would have times of work and rest. But what if rest does not come easy to your child? Because the world is broken by sin, the sun’s setting might not welcome your child into a time of calm sleep but instead, evoke feelings of fear and anxiety.
And yet even in physical darkness, when shadows and uncertainties lurk, there is a true light that shines stronger than any fear. God’s presence and abiding Word illuminate our understanding and cast away every shadow of doubt and fear. Speaking of Jesus as our true Light, John 1:5 says, “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overpowered it.” You can help your child experience a light within that is greater than any darkness that surrounds them. When your child is afraid of the dark, here are three Scriptures and songs to comfort them with God’s Word.
“I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the LORD was watching over me.” Psalm 3:5
One reason a child is afraid of the dark is that many unknowns are lurking in the corners of their imaginative minds. They might take things they heard throughout the day from teachers, peers, the news, or the media and form questions about those ideas or events that leave them fearful. In the dark, their questions become monsters — whether it be the idea of a scary creature beneath the bed or a figurative monster of an unknown future. But throughout Scripture, we read a constant refrain of “fear not” because God is bigger than anything we can imagine. His “perfect love casts out fear,” as we read in 1 John 4:18. You can assure your child that God is bigger than anything their mind can conjure up, and He never sleeps. Help your child develop a practice of shifting their focus away from whatever is plaguing their minds. Tell them that whenever they feel fear rising, they can picture God looking over them and keeping watch throughout the night.
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1
When bedtime comes, shadows are an unwelcome presence. But you can assure your child that behind every shadow is light. Shadows are only possible with a light source! When we see a shadow, instead of imagining something scary, we can remember that God’s light shines in the darkness. In Psalm 91:1, we read that we can abide or rest in the shadow of God. Help your child picture a parent bird hovering over its nest of chicks and keeping them safe. Those little birds are safe beneath the shadow of their parent’s wings. We see this image of God providing us a secure place in verse 4, “He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge.”
Just like a young bird resting in the haven of its nest, God provides us a safe place to sleep through the night.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
You can empower your child to combat fear by reminding them they are not helpless nor alone in the midnight hours. Whenever they feel afraid, God is there and wants to have a simple conversation with them. He invites them to trade every fear for His amazing peace. You can help your child recite such conversations, so they are prepared when fear surfaces. Help your child practice naming specific fears and trading them for God’s promises. Here is an example:
I’m trading my fear of the future for Your perfect plans.
I’m trading my fear of tomorrow’s school test for Your promise to guide and help me.
I’m trading my fears of sickness for Your promise to be with me through every hard thing.
I’m trading my fear of the dark for Your promise of a light that shines brighter.
I’m trading my fear of strange noises in the night for Your peace which is more powerful than I can imagine.”
If your child is afraid of the dark, equip them through God’s Word to subdue and set aside every anxious thought. God’s Word is living and active and always succeeds in its purpose. Help your child to recognize that God’s Word is their greatest defense against fears in the night and that through Scripture, God wants to set them free.