TO SLEEP OR NOT TO SLEEP
“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:8)
“I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.” (Psalm 3:5)
“The Lord gives sleep to those he loves.” (Psalm 127:2)
I wonder how you slept last night? Normally, but not always, I sleep pretty well. But things went spectacularly wrong on Saturday night, ten days ago. I woke up some time after 3 a.m. Something had been weighing on my mind during the day; and once I was awake, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. However hard I tried to think about som FC doething else, within a couple of minutes I was back in a whirlpool of negative thoughts. I was desperate. Silently I cried out to God, “Please God, help me sleep”, over and over again. But inside I felt I was never going to get back to sleep again.
I tried to fill my mind with the words of the Lord’s Prayer, and I prayed this more than once, slowly and thoughtfully. But what really seemed to make a difference was when I turned to the words of Joseph Scriven’s great hymn, “What a friend we have in Jesus”.
The miracle happened. God answered my desperate prayers. The next thing I knew was when I woke again an hour or two later; and I knew for a certainty that I had been asleep. I also knew for a certainty that this was God’s doing. I told Rachel all about it when morning came.
I suppose that’s why I’m telling you. There is nothing magic about “What a friend we have in Jesus”. But God used it to answer my prayers. So I want to encourage you, next time you can’t sleep, to seek God’s help rather sooner than I did. In possibly the greatest Christian song ever written, Graham Kendrick wrote about “the nights of doubt and worry, when sleep has fled away; needing reassurance, and the will to start again, a steely-eyed endurance, the strength to fight and win. For this I have Jesus”. But I’ll leave the last word with Joseph Scriven: “What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.”
Prayer: Father, Thank you that you always answer our prayers. Please help us when we can’t sleep, to turn to you in faith and confidence – even when sleep seems impossible. Amen.