What a strange, strange day today has been.
I’ve slept 16 hours. Not straight, because I had to give my son a ride to and from a school activity, but adding up the hours it has been 16. Like a dead man sleep.
I’m barely awake now, but I’m afraid if I don’t get up and stay up awhile, I’ll not be able to sleep tonight. So here I am, but very much in the world of slugdom.
Sleep and rest are such a strange thing. And I struggle so much with it. I know some of you do, too. I fight off nightmares or dreams about disasters, I have bouts of insomnia, or-like this week-I lose massive amounts of sleep over work.
Today, my body gave up. It slept. It rested.
But I don’t believe this rest today has been purely a physical thing. I think it’s been a spiritual thing as well, as I look into scripture.
Like I said, sleep is a strange thing. It was created by our God for the benefit of our body, our minds and our spirits. We need it. Although I can go long periods of time without sleep, I eventually must sleep. We all must. The Bible has quite a lot to say about sleep. Here are some verses that have become very important to me:
This verse I sheepishly read in light of this past week. Not only did I rise early and go late to rest, I also forwent sleep altogether, eating the bread of anxious toil. In vain. For I realize that had I trusted God with my work problems and chose to sleep in that trust, He would have granted me a much clearer mind with which to figure them out. For He gives to His beloved sleep…..I am His beloved. You are His beloved. Even in my foolishness, He has given me sleep today. Yes, I’m a bit frantic over all the work I DIDN’T get accomplished today, but doesn’t that defeat His purpose? He knew what I needed, and granted it to me, because He loves me. I can’t argue too much against that.
These are two verses I have memorized. They are very important to me. It’s not unusual for me to repeat them a few times as a prayer as I try to fall asleep, praying back God’s word to Him. Reminding myself that there is nothing to fear, that the Lord makes me to dwell in safety. To sleep in safety. It’s not a magic formula. I still struggle with nightmares and insomnia. But I am learning more and more that sleep, like I mentioned above, is a trust issue. Do I trust Him to keep me safe through the nights? When I am awakened, do I go straight to Him with my nightmare for the reassurance that I no longer have anything to fear? Or do I allow myself to get worked up, spun up in fear. Do I forget that it is a spiritual battle to be fought with prayer? Now that’s a newish concept to me, that there are spiritual battles that rage, but that even in the midst of those, my God makes me to dwell in safety. O, my soul.
Is your sleep sweet? Do you trust Him? Sleep is a picture of the resurrection. We lie down….our body is stilled…..we wake again to a new day or a new hour. One day we will lie down and sleep…..and wake in the presence of our Jesus. Oh, how I long for that day!
But in the meantime, I will be grateful when God grants sleep. I will try to trust Him in the sleepless nights. And I will trust that Matthew 11:28-30 is truth:
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”