Sleepless in Seattle, in Keokuk, in Schenectady, in Amarillo…

We’ve all had sleepless nights.  Sometimes because pain robs us of rest.  Other times, our minds have echoes from the day which continue to reverberate and we cannot quiet them.  Still other times, our eyes are held waking for seemingly no “good” reason.  But I believe God is purposeful in all.

“Thou holdest mine eyes waking:I am so troubled that I cannot speak.”~Psalm 77:4

In this instance (if you follow through the rest of the psalm), David needed a refocusing of perspective.

“I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.”~Psalm 16:7

In this context, David was in need of comfort.

When sleep is elusive, we tend to become frustrated.  The more frustrated we become, the further a “good night’s sleep” seems to wander from our grasp.  Perhaps we need to inquire of the Lord, asking what His purpose is in our restlessness.  I find it interesting that this theme comes up numerous times in the psalms (in addition to those above):

“Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still.” Selah. ~Ps. 4:4

“I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.” ~Ps. 6:6

“He deviseth mischief upon his bed; he setteth himself in a way that is not good; he abhorreth not evil.” ~Ps. 36:4

“The LORD will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness.” ~Ps. 41:3

“When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.” ~Ps. 63:6

We see a variety of circumstances in play here.  Worship.  Stillness. Grief. Pain. Evil machinations. Weakness. Sickness. Remembrance.  What is it that has crept stealthily into your room and absconded with your 40 winks?  It may be worthwhile to put away the sleep aids, sit in the stillness, and ask.  He’s awake.

“Christ sometimes delays His help that He may try our faith and quicken our prayers. The boat may be covered with the waves, and He sleeps on; but He will wake up before it sinks. He sleeps, but He never oversleeps; and there are no “too lates” with Him.” –Alexander MacLaren

This scripture, which I read this morning, was largely the impetus for writing this blog post:

“He will not let your foot be moved;he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.”~Psalm 121:3,4

And when sleep is skittering away from you, like a mischievous child, and you watch the hands of the clock spin from one hour to the next, do not fret.  If you are fulfilling His purposes in your wakefulness, He will undertake.  I’ve spoken to numerous young moms about this, and here is a brief summary of my conclusions:

In Mark 6, the Lord Jesus recognizes that the disciples need to “come apart and rest” (I often say I need to “come apart” before I come apart!). This is on the heels of receiving the news that John the Baptist has been beheaded. They are drained emotionally, spiritually, and no doubt physically (ever try feeding 5,000 people?). How long was their rest? It consisted of the length of a boat ride. No sleep, no spa, no real “get away from it all”…except this: they were isolated with the Savior. That brief cruise in His company was apparently all that was required to rest and refresh their souls. God can multiply the effects of rest, as we’ve all discovered in motherhood. 🙂 Is it ideal to go for extended periods with very limited sleep? No…because His perfect design requires sleep to rejuvenate. But when we wait upon the Lord, He renews our strength for those periodic skirmishes when “we have exhausted our store of endurance, when our strength has failed, ere the day is half-done.” He knows our frame…He remembers we are made of dust. How often I have rested in that truth!

Find rest for your soul in this as well, dear lady.

I’ve blogged on spiritual warfare and stress in connection with this idea as well.  Just plug the word “sleep” into the search box in the side bar if you are looking to learn more about these aspects.


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