In my “Simplifying” post a couple weeks ago I wrote about rest and how it looks different for everyone. Except sleep. Sleep is universal. We all need it. Some of us have a hard time getting it.
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. —Psalm 127:2 ESV
I looked up that verse in my Bible software and realized I’d written something about it a few years ago. I’d forgotten I’d dabbled with a blog I wrote specifically for my worship band at the time. Here’s a post from December 2007.
Last Friday morning, I recorded this in my journal: “Right now my greatest need is for rest even while I look to a very busy weekend.”
You see, not only did I have my regular ministry responsibilities heading into the weekend, but I also had a Christmas lunch gig at an area country club on Friday and I had a wedding gig in Cleveland on Saturday evening (the band I’ve been playing a little with).
I hadn’t looked much at the weather yet, so I didn’t know what we had in store for us. Though we left early (1 pm), it was slow going to Cleveland, and we barely had enough time to set up before people started arriving. Thankfully, we were treated to a very tasty and satisfying dinner prior to playing at 8 pm. However, our last set didn’t end until well after midnight, and after tearing down and loading up everything, we eventually left around 1:30 am. But, of course, the weather was worse on our return, which took much longer than usual. I didn’t get home until nearly 5 am, less than an hour before I usually wake up!
Needless to say, I was rather grateful for our unplanned day off on Sunday. [Our worship services were canceled because of the ice.] I was able to go back to sleep, take in lunch before shoveling the drive, then back to sleep in the afternoon. God gave me the rest I’d requested and so needed. Now I don’t mean to suggest that God dumped snow on our area just so I could sleep a little. But it was enough that school was canceled the following day, which was a blessing for me, because the wedding and the ensuing day of rest prevented me from spending time with my girls, which on Monday involved a fun-filled afternoon of sledding. (By the way, I’m learning my body’s not getting any younger, as evident by my soreness the next day from the many spills I took. Remember, I’m from Arizona and still learning the art of sledding.)
As I consider my need for rest, I am reminded that my Keeper has no need for rest. Psalm 121 tells us that the one who watches over us never sleeps. He would never be awakened suddenly in the middle of the night by a surprise intruder, helpless to defend. No, I can rest securely, like my girls who so easily fall asleep after we’ve prayed and I’ve tucked them in, secure in their daddy’s protection.
How are you sleeping these days? Are you anxious or worried, unable to fall asleep? Or do you easily drift off into dreamland? If the former, present your requests to God and rest in His peace (see Philippians 4:7). If the latter, thank him for his gift of rest.
On our treacherous journey back from Cleveland, the guys in the band who drove guided us back safely, for which I’m thankful, but they probably did so with much unease, as our vehicles were like sleighs on the icy turnpike. But for parts of our trip, I napped in the backseat, oblivious to the anxiety of my driver. I just assumed we would arrive safely back home, and if not, what could I do? I couldn’t exactly intervene from the backseat. I was like Jesus asleep in the back of the boat, head on a cushion, napping with no worries (see Mark 4:38).
Do not fear. Put your faith in Jesus, whom even the wind and sea obey. Someday we’ll eventually come to know our eternal rest, a peace we can’t fully comprehend. In the meantime, take your place with Jesus in the back of the boat. That’s where I’ll be.