The elusiveness of sleep
Sleep is something that usually doesn’t receive much consideration until you can’t.
In my early years, for half a decade, I worked the night shift, from 11:00 PM until 7:00 AM. During those years, the primary topic of our work conversations was “How much sleep did you get?”
Now that my wife and I are older, sleep has again become a topic of conversation, especially for my wife. She sleeps like a baby; she wakes up every two hours and cries! Well, that’s a bit of an overstatement, but not by much.
Help from God
As bondservants of Jesus Christ, many of us have prayed back to God the words in Psalms 4:8:
In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
Few of us are adept at sleeping while standing, so we find lying down helpful. If we don’t have our spiritual ears open, we can miss God’s blessing in this small verse. From this verse, we may think that God is just telling us that we can sleep because He imparts His peace to us, and that is true, but that’s not all.
Tossing and turning do not a restful night make. Going to bed with a cluttered mind or a mind that doesn’t have an off switch can make sleep elusive, if not impossible. So, in Psalms 4:8, God gave us two promises that come from a single truth.
“For you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” The Hebrew word that is translated as safety means “A place of refuge.” If we are children of God, then “we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28)” in safety. We may well be facing dangers and difficulties, but nothing can drag us out of our place of refuge in God.
The precision of God
I find comfort, not only in God’s provision for us in this passage but also in God’s precision in this passage. Notice that in this Psalm, David tells us that in peace we lie down and in peace we sleep, and in both, we have God’s peace because we are in God’s refuge – we are in a safe place.
God is a precise God. If we lie down in turmoil, if we find ourselves making to-do lists, if we are running scenarios of what may be, then we have not entered God’s refuge. We all know that worry is worthless, it’s never changed anything.
God’s refuge is available to all His children
Yes, many medical conditions can steal our sleep – I have sleep apnea. So we should not heap condemnation upon ourselves if we have a sleep disorder. But even if we struggle with a medical problem, we still need to enter God’s refuge each night. He is our safe place, so enter in!
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