“I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.” ~Psalm 4:8
Sleep – it’s something that the human body needs. After a long and tiring day, it is necessary to allow ourselves to rest and sleep for a few hours. Yet, there are those who do not find sleep to be restorative, peaceful, or satisfying. Health conditions, sleep disorders, nightmares, fear, worry… these are just some of the reasons why some do not enjoy their sleep.
I must say, this topic is near and dear to my heart because I have had minor sleep issues (off and on) my entire life. As a child, I would sleepwalk. I’d fall asleep in my bed only to find myself standing in the kitchen, somehow; not knowing how I got there. Needless to say, this left me feeling very disoriented and out of control. As a child, this was very scary and it caused me to fear bedtime.
Throughout my life, I have had very vivid nightmares, at times – never knowing when one would strike. After such horrific dreams, I would wake up with a sense of intense panic. Once again, this left me feeling disoriented, out of control, and dreadful of bedtime. I’d have to talk myself down and think to myself, “It’s okay – it was just a dream.”
Still, in more recent years, I have found myself dealing with insomnia; to the point that it could easily take me 4 hours (or more) to fall asleep. I share all of this so my readers will know – this blog on sleep doesn’t come from one who has had no troubles. I have full compassion on those who struggle with sleep. It’s something we must do every single night – and if it holds fear and dread, it only leaves us in constant torment.
“… he gives his beloved sleep.” ~Psalm127:2
If a person is living a life of sin and has an unsettled soul and guilt-ridden conscience, naturally, sleep would not typically be very sweet. But, what about the Christian – the one who loves and serves Jesus faithfully? What if the devout Christian has disturbed sleep?
Of course, there are medical and natural remedies to help one sleep. Nonetheless, such aids will not necessarily take away the fears, nightmares, and problems that arise with sleep. As the late pastor A.W. Tozer used to say – I’m going to give you some good, practical, “salty” wisdom that is down-to-earth. For starters, I recommend always praying before bed. This is the perfect time to repent of any sin present and to lay our burdens at Jesus’ feet, asking for His peace. In John 14:27, Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Secondly, we must always make sure we are at peace with God and man. Romans 12:18 states: “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you [so far as it depends on you], live peaceably with all men.” And Ephesians 4:26… “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” The hurt and injustices that blindside us will make it very difficult to sleep peacefully. Nonetheless, we have to put it in the Lord’s hands to deal with and trust that He will guide us and give us peace.
Thirdly, we must guard ourselves and what we allow into our minds. Proverbs 4:23 puts it like this: “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” We must never watch filthy movies, listen to worldly music, or read dark novels and expect to have deep, genuine peace or sleep. Even a passing commercial with violence will affect us negatively. Such imagery in the human mind is toxic.
Also, we must be very conscious of what we are dwelling on – even at the subconscious level. We must be very aware of what we’re allowing ourselves to think about. We can stew over many things and not even realize it… things such as fear, financial worries, health concerns, situations which anger us; the list goes on and on. Let’s remember Philippians 4:7… “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” And this scripture found in Philippians 4:8, “…whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Nonetheless, conditions do not have to be perfect for God to grant sleep. Remember the account in the 8th chapter of Matthew? Jesus was asleep in the boat even though there was such a powerful storm that the disciples feared for their lives! That is the definition of sweet, undisturbed, God-given sleep!
The Gift of Sleep
The late, great Spurgeon likened sleep to a gift. I would have to agree. Let us never take for granted peaceful, sweet sleep. As with everything, there is a healthy balance. Too much sleep can border on being slothful (see Prov. 20:13, 6:9-11, Matt. 26:45, etc.), yet, if the body truly needs sleep – Christ is there to peacefully grant us this gift with no guilt added. When sleep is needed, it isn’t self-indulgent nor wrong to sleep deeply; it is a gift.
In the 2nd chapter of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar had dreams and his spirit was troubled to the point that his sleep left him. This was obviously not a blessed occurrence; which further validates the idea of sleep being a gift.
“Sleep is the gift of God, and not a man would close his eyes, did not God put his fingers on his eyelids; did not the Almighty send a soft and balmy influence over his frame which lulled his thoughts into quiescence, making him enter into that blissful state of rest which we call sleep. True, there be some drugs and narcotics whereby men can poison themselves well nigh to death, and then call it sleep; but the sleep of the healthy body is the gift of God.” ~Charles H. Spurgeon
Proverbs 3:24 “When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.”
Psalm 3:5 “I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me.”
Psalm 91:5 “You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day…”
Beware what fills the mind. Please click the link HERE.