November 24, 2015

Psalm 3:5 I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.

The preface to this Psalm says it was written when David was fleeing from his son Absalom. It’s hard to imagine what it would be like to be in fear for your life from your own child. David’s brain probably would not shut up, with self-recriminations, what-if scenarios and the like. That’s why this verse is significant. Quite possibly David was dealing with insomnia, and he was reminding himself of the fundamental truth expressed here. Babies may have trouble sleeping for various reasons, but over-thinking their lives isn’t one of them. Someone who is genuinely resting in their position as a child of God can indeed “sleep like a baby.” It is when we get all “adult” and think we are in charge of our own lives that insomnia kicks in. How well we sleep can actually be a good indicator of our trust level, physical considerations aside. Physical pain, digestive upset and the like can certainly interfere with good sleep, but even then, the more we trust God, the better we are able to deal with those things. This is what Paul was talking about when he wrote, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) A mind and heart filled with the peace of God will sleep well!

I have certainly had my struggles with insomnia at times, so I am preaching to myself. I generally have to be exhausted to fall asleep immediately, though interestingly, naps are an exception. I choose to trust God but my mind still runs, often in circles. This is an area where I still have plenty of room for growth! I have learned, however, that the best way to get the rest I need is not to be anxious about whether or not I am sleeping, but rather focus on thankfulness and praise. Singing/praying out loud is of course counter-productive, but letting grateful prayers and songs of thanks and praise play over in my mind is far and away the best thing I have found for the purpose. Trying to work up faith and trust, as an abstract activity, really doesn’t cut it, but choosing to focus on thanks and praise does the job nicely, just as Paul said.

Father, I’ve had a good bit of practice in this recently. Thank You. Thank You that Your Word is true, and You are absolutely faithful. Help me walk in obedient trust every waking, and sleeping, moment, so that all of Your purposes for me may be accomplished, on Your schedule and for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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