655) Whatever Gets You Through the Night

“I’m not unmindful of man’s seeming need for faith; I’m for anything that gets you through the night, be it prayer, tranquilizers, or a bottle of Jack Daniel’s.”

–Frank Sinatra  (1915-1998), quoted in Frank Sinatra: My Father, by Nancy Sinatra, 1986, p. 201

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     John Lennon (1940-1980) expressed the same view in his hit single Whatever Gets You Through the Night.  The song went to the top of the charts in the United States and Canada in 1974, and included these lines:

Whatever gets you through the night, it’s alright, it’s alright…

Whatever gets you through your life, it’s alright, it’s alright
Do it wrong or do it right, it’s alright, it’s alright…

You can listen to Whatever Gets You Through the Night at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNNxeovdN5U

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      Can that be really all they want?  Wouldn’t they want to get farther than just ‘through the night?’

     Jesus offers to get you much farther.  In fact, Jesus will get you all the way through the dark night of death and the grave, to the bright morning of eternal life in heaven.  Sometime soon, all our nights and days on this earth will be ended, and what then?  Not even tranquilizers or a bottle of Jack Daniel’s will be of any help when that inevitable day arrives.

      Because of what Frank Sinatra would dismiss as my ‘seeming need for faith,’ I prefer to put my hope in the kind of promises expressed in the verses and prayers below.

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Psalm 30:1-5 (portions):  

I will exalt you, Lord,
    for you lifted me out of the depths...
Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me.
You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead...

Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.

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Psalm 90:12  —  Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Isaiah 26:9a  —  My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you.

Psalm 23:4a  —  Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.

Job 35:9-10  —  People cry out under a load of oppression; they plead for relief from the arm of the powerful.  But no one says, ‘Where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night.’

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Psalm 42:5, 8:

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.

By day the Lord directs his love,
    at night his song is with me—
    a prayer to the God of my life.

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John 14:1-3  —  (Jesus said),  “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  You believe in God; believe also in me.  My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me, so that you also may be where I am.”

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Eternal God, whose Son Jesus Christ said,
‘Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid;’
Take away our fear of death;
bring us to the place he has gone to prepare for us;
and give us his peace for ever.   Amen.

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O Lord, support us all the day long of this troubled life, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes and the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over, and our work is done.  Then, Lord, in your mercy, grant us a safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at the last; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

–Cardinal John Henry Newman  (1801-1890)

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