Sleep is a marvelous thing! Why is it that the Lord in His infinite and marvelous wisdom created man with a need to sleep at least a third of the day? We, who are fearfully and wonderfully made? We who were formed from the dust of the ground, whose breath is given by Almighty God?
Why sleep? Why is sleep one of our most basic needs?
I think that it has something to do with the basic pride of man. We like to think that we are so wise and so powerful and so much in control of our own destiny that we really don’t need God. God has made us a tremendous promise. “I will be a God to you and to your seed after you.” But we say, “No thanks. I think we got this just fine.”
But 8 hours every day, we are completely out of control. We lock our doors and buy fancy security systems, but when we close our eyes we are at the mercy of the elements, wild animals, criminals, fire…what else? We think that we can take care of whatever ails us in this life and God reminds us of our absolute dependence upon Him by making us need to close our eyes and sleep. Without His care, we would not last a moment.
Perhaps this is why our modern age has such a struggle with insomnia. We don’t want to give up control. So we lay awake worrying about the future, about enemies, about sickness and the economy. We fret and we worry – and we can’t even add one inch to our lifespan! Worry, as a wise pastor told me once, is simply praying to yourself – and we make very poor gods. All we can manage is to toss and turn on our beds fretting, but we can’t make one hair black or white by giving thought.
How much more helpless are we when it is time to lay down and sleep?
Look at the words of Psalm 127:
Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.
2 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. (Psa 127:1-2)
What can we do when the Lord fights against us? And what can we not do when He is our strength and our shield? He who never sleeps nor slumbers is the keeper of Israel, the shade on our right hand.
Only this way can His beloved know the sleep of peace.
For this reason, David prays before bed,
8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. (Psa 4:8)
The Shepherd of Israel guides us to green pasture and causes us to lie down. He gives His beloved ones sleep.
The King of all creation is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. We who have fled to Jesus for refuge are united to Him. So for the sake of Jesus, God is also OUR God and Father. Since He is almighty, He is able to give us all things necessary for our salvation. Since He is our Father for the sake of Jesus Christ, He is willing to give us all things. “Fear not, little flock,” said Jesus, “It is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom!”
Rest in peace, and sleep, for who can take you from your Father’s hand?
While I draw this fleeting breath; when my eyelids close in death;
When I soar to worlds unknown, see thee on thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee.
Good night, everyone, and may the God of all peace give you rest and safety!