Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sleep, A Formidable Instructor, Part II

It is vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil, for he gives to his beloved sleep.” (Psalms 127:2, ESV)

I hope you have had some time to contemplate on the instructional value of “sleep.” Have you chosen to add sleep to your list of the great teachers who helped shape you into what you are today? If you remember we listed at least three things sleep can teach us in yesterday’s post. They are: 
  • sleep derives from God as a gift
  • sleep develops our faith
  • sleep diminishes greed and anxiety 

If I were a betting man, at least more than a quarter or dollar, I would bet that most of you would never guess the most important lesson that sleep teaches us. As a matter of fact many of you will think I am absolutely nuts as you read further. Please, re-open your mind when you are feeling it slam shut and give some consideration to a “divine” of the past.

Remember, God has promised to give those whom He loves sleep. Therefore, it is not wrong to ask God for this restoring, restful, and rejuvenating commodity for the toil of our tomorrow. It also is not wrong to ask God as we lay ourselves down to sleep that our dreams would not be “tinged” with evil or wickedness. It should be our desire that our rest be a time of “blessed temple of His holy presence.”

Now comes the “food for thought.” Our frequent laying down makes us mindful of our impending death. The bed we climb into pictures the grave that we will lay in one day. As we close our eyes we should be mindful of the time when our eyes will close for a final time. Why would I equate something so grand, so great, and as good as sleep with a reminder of our impending death?

First, we need to be mindful of the fact that our life is like a vapor. Our time is short in this life in comparison to eternity. We are told a number of times to number our days, to live wisely, to redeem our time, to make the most of the time that God has chosen to allot to us. God has determined the exact amount of days that each one of us will live in this life as we know it. We need to be reminded that we are not immortal in this present age. One day this mortality will put on immortality and that day could be today.

Second, we need to use sleep as an instructor to enable us to weaken our attachment on earthy things. We need a reminder to hold our life “loosely” in our hands knowing that we have only received this life as a gift from God and that we must surrender it to Him on the day that He has appointed.

Thirdly believer, as you retire at night, retire in full assurance of one day awakening in the presence of God. This is our hope, this is the end of the gospel of grace, and this is the benefit of the unspeakable gift of God’s grace in the Lord Jesus Christ. To be absent from the body you remember will be our presence with the Lord.

Finally, sleep can teach us that when we lie helpless and our conscience accuses us of sin, or when our minds are being harassed by troubling thoughts, or when our eyes are held open by anxiety, we can turn to God as our solace. God is our balm for every wound, a remedy for every pain, a peace for all of our disquietude.

This is why we are to commit ourselves to Him whether we are awake or sleep.

What do you think?


Susan said...

About the thought of sleep being a precursor to my end of my mortality, it often comes to my mind. One day I will lay down and rise here no more, so resting in the arms of Jesus, when awake and asleep, truly is His gift. :)

Alice said...

I never thought of it that way. It is amazing though that nearly 1/3 of our life is spent sleeping. It must be important!

Anonymous said...

Terrific post, Gregg. Sleep is indeed a gift from God; it's amazing how we often take it for granted.


Very well put Gregg, Excellent to read.


Petra said...

Awesome post/series!

mikew116 said...

Another insightful post, I have never really paused to consider how sleep can cause us to think on eternity, I will in the future now. Thanks for sharing.