Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Why You Should Sleep (but probably won't for a while)

""I laid me down and slept. I awoke, for the Lord sustained me." Ps. 3:5

"I will both lay me down in peace and sleep, for only Thou, Lord, make me dwell in safety." Ps. 4:8

Psalms 3 and 4 are both war Psalms. David wrote them during times of battle, and his talk of sleeping soundly and waking safely was about sleeping on a battlefield between battles. To sleep encamped not too far from your enemy was an act of faith in God---every subsequent morning was a gift of grace and an occasion to praise God. It was not luck of the draw but rather a sign of God's love and favor (Ps. 3:3-4; 4:1, 3, 7). David knew that his life was in the hands of someone who loved him. Therefore, he slept like a baby.

Most of us probably don't sleep on a battlefield like David, but life itself is hair-raising enough with a sufficient amount of evil for every day. Sudden accidents and random acts of violence strike just as savage as any foe in the night, for death is a foe, the last and greatest we shall ever face (I Cor. 15:26). Sleep is just as much an act of faith for us in our homes as it was for David on his battlefield. Think about it: for six to eight hours you lay unconscious and immobile on a giant rectangular pad, oblivious and helpless. You remain unaware of the world, this random, violent world. It is almost an act of suicide, and yet we sleep and we wake, and we do this multiple times as though it was nothing.

We have our confidences: in locks and neighbors and police and civilization at large. But we ought also to have confidence in God as well, who gives sleep to the just and the unjust. It is by His love we sleep undisturbed and awake unscathed. It is by His grace we have been brought to the morning. It is by His mercy we are not consumed (Lam. 3:22 KJV). Every morning with a fresh awakening is a gift, the first of the gifts of God for you in a day, the first grounds for thanks and worship. When you rise, you are already blessed, for waking is a blessing. The sunlight that pours in from around your curtains or through the cracks in your blinds is an ever renewed herald of triumph, for you have yet again made the perilous quest. God has lead you once more through the nightlands and into daylight.

-Jon Vowell (c) 2013

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