3:11. I’ve been awakened since sometime around 1:00 and I can’t seem to get back to sleep. Ugh.
Short Nights. We all have them–nights when we just can’t fall asleep. Or nights when we are able to fall asleep, but something awakens us and we are unable to fall back to sleep. Nights when, after trying everything we can think of to fall back to sleep–walking, reading, praying–we end up starting the day early instead.
Sometimes we can’t sleep for no apparent reason. Other times, it is clearly evident as to why we are unable to sleep. Something is bothering us. Or something is on our minds. Or, on a positive note, we are excited about something that is upcoming–and we just can’t sleep because of the anticipation.
I’ve had a string of sleepless nights this week. Two at the beginning of the week, and now tonight. Frustrating? Terribly so. But I’m trying a new thing–to use this quiet time (because it is quiet, there are no demands on my time in the middle of the night) to cultivate an awareness of God.
Sure, it is not unusual for me to pray on short nights. To write out prayers to my God. But one can pray remotely without sensing God’s presence. Or, sadly (I know this from experience), one can pray without really even caring that they are praying-a disrespectful response to a Holy God.
So, tonight I’ve been lying here thinking through–and even praying through–the 23rd Psalm. Not a nothing Psalm. We gloss over it because we’ve heard it so many times, but there is real comfort in knowing these words: “I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” I’m preaching to myself tonight, that these words are truth. And that God sees and knows the sleepless nights that are sometimes characterized by fear and anxiety, like tonight. And that Psalm 105:4–Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! –is the only answer on these short nights.