Deep Sleep, Deep Faith

Lately, I can’t sleep. Like awake at three am playing spider solitaire and watching documentaries on the History channel not sleeping. It’s made me think.

Ever look up “sleep” in the Bible? First of all, there are a bunch of verses where “sleep” has nothing to do with the act of sleeping but rather directions with whom we should NOT sleep. OK, I’m not writing about those verses.

Then there are verses where sleep has to do with death, as in “we shall not all sleep”. Yeah, I’m not writing about those verses either. Totally different subject.

So, there are actual verses about people sleeping – where people of the Bible lie down at night, close their eyes and rest. Those are the verses I’m thinking about today. It was quite an act of faith to sleep in Biblical times.

See the Bible covers some barbaric times where lying down to sleep could result in death and disaster. While Samson slept, Delilah tipped off his enemies about his whole hair secret (of course, he might have done well to pay attention to those verses about whom we should NOT sleep with – different subject). While King Saul slept, his enemy crept close enough to kill him. There’s a military leader named Sisera who was lured in to sleep with Jael and she drove a tent peg through his head (again, should have checked the manual on acceptable bed partners!). And a young man in the New Testament fell asleep during a sermon and fell out of a window (I think I’ve heard that sermon). Anyway, sleeping back then was risky business.

Men of faith, however, not only managed to sleep but God was active in their lives as they slept. God put Adam into a deep sleep and when he awoke, there was quite a gift waiting for him! It was while Abraham slept that God introduced Himself and gave him the orders to relocate to a prime piece of real estate by the sea. When Jacob slept, He dreamed of a stairway to heaven – thus blessing his future ancestors, Led Zeppelin. When Joseph slept, God let Him know His girl had been true and gave Him the green light to trust her crazy story.

Jesus slept. As a life-threatening storm raged around the boat carrying the men with whom He’d entrusted the gospel, He was napping in the bow. Of course, He woke up, spoke up and ended the weather event before disaster – one of the coolest miracles recorded! But, my point is, that He was able to sleep in the midst of turmoil, high seas, and seasoned fisherman screaming like little girls!

We don’t have to worry about tent pegs or barbarian invasions while we sleep but with all the pressures of our lives, sleep can feel like an act of indulgence. We stay up late and rise early, trying to keep our lives afloat in very stormy seas and we get irritated with God because He never seems to get uptight enough about the impending doom on our horizon. More times than not, Jesus says “Chill out and catch some Z’s. You don’t keep the world spinning, I do. That’s why I invented sleep so you’d have a nightly reminder that there is a time to rest and let Me do what I do best.” (I don’t think He rhymes like that very often or rapping would have caught on earlier.)

Psalm 127. Sleep is an act of faith in crazy times when it seems like it all depends on us. People should be saying – “who are all those well-rested people?” Ohh, those are the Christians who trust God enough to get a good night’s sleep. Want to exercise your faith today? Go take a nap.

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1 Comment

    The Conversation

  1. Thank you Lori. I’m explaining to CC right now that you said it was OK for me to take a nap. Remember what the gift was holding when Adam woke up? Yes, the first “Honey Do List”. I will be taking my nap in faith that CC will allow me to rest well, and that history will not repeat itself as it pertains to the list!
    We have sleep in faith stories from Haiti that we’ll have to share sometime.
    Love your works!
    Night, Night,