I roll over and look at my bedside table clock. 3 am. I groan inwardly, calculating the few hours of sleep I will get before I have to be up for work. I finally drift off to sleep for a few hours, then drag myself out of bed, already exhausted before I even start my day.
These nights are becoming far too common lately, and while I haven’t fully gotten to the bottom of why I have been having sleep problems, I have found some helpful lessons from my struggles with insomnia.
1. It teaches me to rely more fully on God. When I have a great sleep, I can become more self-sufficient, and go through the day on auto-pilot, often without acknowledging my need for God. When I haven’t slept, I am relying fully on the grace of God to get me through the day in one piece. I have learned to pray, ‘ Lord, I need you today. You have given me grace before, now I need your grace again.’ And I know He will not fail me (2 Cor 12:9).
2. It reveals the issues that I need to deal with. Sleep is one of the areas God uses to break me, when I start to run away from Him. There is something about the middle of the night that can strip away the distractions, and get me to focus on Christ once again. While there are physical and environmental factors that can play a role, a troubled mind is also a big hindrance to sleep.
3. I am reminded that everything I have comes from God. Sleep is a gift, and it is only when I am without it that I realize how precious it is. We have been given a rest from the pressures of the world, and like a child, we can leave all our worries in His hands for eight hours, and rest in His care, for “He gives to His beloved sleep” (Psalm 127:2).
In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O 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