On the third of the difficult nights, I couldn't get rest anywhere. I was in a motel room, and had showered very thoroughly, but the mites seemed to be everywhere, biting relentlessly in their random, nerve-jangling way. At length, I went outside and tried to sleep in my car, as there was nowhere in the motel room to get away from the mites. But the car was no refuge either. I showered twice that night, changing my sleepwear each time—with fresh, just-washed items—but it made no difference. It seemed as if the mites were reappearing, against all reason, everywhere I went. I was awake and on edge the entire night, unable to lay my head down anywhere, unable even to sit.

In that same motel room, on the following night, I slept in perfect comfort. And there was no sign that the motel staff was troubled in the least by any mites during my stay. By this time, I had come to understand that what was going on was as much between me and God as it was a manifestation of simple physical events.

In the early dawn after that dreadful night, I could think of only one thing to do, and so I began praising God, warbling though tears of exhaustion the old hymn "How Great Thou Art." As I did so, it came to me that God had known how I would respond at each step along the way. It was I who needed to discover the changes He has made in me over the years. It was I who needed to see that I was different now. The test wasn't for His benefit; it was for me.

I suspect that there are many people with stories of hardship and testing from the last few months of this year. (I know members of my family have such stories.) I believe we are in a time of intense testing today, and it brought me up short during Labor Day week to see the strange episode at the Democratic National Convention, when a crowd of delegates shouted—three times—against God.

I want to be clear here that I do not think this is representative of the hearts of all Democrats. The party saw an earlier controversy over mentioning God in the election platform in 1992, but there are Christians, Jews, and Muslims in the Democratic Party who believe in God as wholeheartedly as they believe in freedom of religious belief.

What was new this year was the outright hostility shown by a number of convention delegates. During a convention session on September 5, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa posed the question three times whether the party should include a reference to God in its platform—and three times, the "Ayes" were drowned out by a roar of "Nays," accompanied by an explosion of boos.

The party leadership decided to incorporate the reference to God anyway, overriding the thrice-reiterated objection from the delegates. It isn't clear why they chose to mention God (once) in the 2012 platform, whereas they declined to name Him in the 1992 platform. Beyond simple inconsistency, one possibility is that at least some Democrats share the growing sense among Americans in general that something very big is going on in our world, and that God is someone we need to be right with, as the alarms increase and the trials mount.