I woke up this morning with a heart as gloomy as the rain outside. I didn’t dread the day, nor did I merely “wake up on the wrong side of the bed.” Rather, the emotions from a night of dreams clung to my mind, overshadowing the new day.
With resignation, I fixed the children breakfast and shuffled my oldest off to school. Maybe, I thought, the clouds will clear outside, and the fog of my heart will also lift.
Midmorning, I sat down with my prayer book, The Valley of Vision, and opened to the puppy-eared page, the prayer entitled, “Peril.” As always, the beauty of these puritan prayers touched my writer’s heart. And then I reached this line:
I was convicted about my resignation to accept the heaviness. God designed sleep to be a blessing. Not only do we need it, but He uses it to speak to us (Genesis 28; Matthew 1), heal us, give us rest.
Sleep reminds us that we are not all knowing, all powerful, all present. We are limited and broken, unable to toil our way to salvation. “It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.” (Psalm 127:2)
How appropriate that God uses the metaphor of Sabbath rest when speaking of salvation (Hebrews 4).
And yet, there is something about sleep that leaves us exposed to the attack of the enemy. There is a vulnerability that descends on our hearts and minds as we let go of consciousness and enter the state of sleep. How are we to respond, to pray, when our sleep is being harassed and we are not experiencing the blessing of it?
I have no answers, but I do have promises:
To the LORD I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side. (Psalm 3:4-6)
I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8)
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. (Psalm 90:14)
My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. (Proverbs 3:21-24)
My friends, whether you awake in a dream-stupor, or lose sleep to anxiety, stress, depression, or fear, cling to the promises. Whether your night is literal, or a figurative season of struggle, may you know his joy in the morning.