The following was written by Lee Pierce. It is for all of us insomniacs out there…all of us who lay our heads on the pillow at night, but can’t find rest. Lee…thanks for the reminder that God is in control! -anita
I oftentimes have some difficulty getting a good night’s sleep. I often wake up at 2 or 3 in the morning and struggle to get back to sleep. I recently wrote for this blog about the futility of worrying: “In the end, all anxiety is a failure of faith….” But worry many times is the cause of my sleeplessness. I lie in my bed and try to think through my problem(s) of the day and how I’m going to fix it. Implicit in this approach is the thought that, if I just work harder (put in more hours) on the problem, ponder it a little longer, I will find a way to correct the problem and life will be peachy.
I recently read an article on sleep, penned from a Christian perspective. The author, Dr. Jeffrey K. Jue, provost of Westminster Theological Seminary, points to Psalm 127, verses 1 and 2. Verse one cites the fact that, unless the Lord is involved, the builder works in vain, as does the watchman guarding the city. But verse two really gets to the point of the matter concerning sleep. “It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for He gives ]sleep] to His beloved.” As one of my commentaries puts it: the diligent person who works hard at his task, while trusting in the Lord for His divine providence and support, will find rest.
Now I’ll admit it is hard to know where and when to stop as we work through life’s problems. Maybe this other approach will work, I say to myself. An oft-quoted line from poet Robert Burns probably applies here. “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Maybe, as we work hard to tackle this problem, some prayer for His direction would be helpful. And, the other thought I had was this: Work hard to give it my best shot and, if the problem still isn’t solved, lay it down until tomorrow. Many times I’ve found that, if I walk away from a problem and get a good night’s sleep, I wake up with a new perspective, a new approach to the problem. I want to give God the credit when that occurs. Solomon notes in Eccl 5:12, “The sleep of the working man is pleasant….”
So often, it seems to me, as we work hard at problem solving, the focus is on ourselves. I need to fix this; I can solve this problem; it reflects poorly on Me if I can’t make this right. A better point of view might be that all events of life—the problems, the solutions, the good times and the bad—take place under His gaze. All outcomes are subject to His divine providence and sovereignty. We ultimately don’t control anything; all of this is about God and His plans for us, for this world, for all time. I think we are called only to seek after Him and His direction, give life our best shot, and let things play out the way He has planned. Because they will, regardless of what we do.
Dr. Jue concludes that, “The gift of sleep is a precious blessing itself and a wonderful reminder that God is at work and that He loves…us.”