Sleeping for Jesus (or Follow Me to the Revolution)

sleep-102436_640Ever have trouble sleeping?
I do, sometimes.
Like awake at three am playing spider solitaire and watching documentaries on the History channel not sleeping.
When I struggle with anything, the Bible is my first go-to source of help. Have you ever looked up “sleep” in the Bible?

First, there are a bunch of verses where “sleep” has nothing to do with the act of sleeping but rather directions for whom we should NOT sleep.  This post is not about those verses.

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

But, there are actual verses about people sleeping – passages 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. Bible times were 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 – (then he would have entered those passages about how we “sleep in death”).
A military leader named Sisera 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 or the fine print on what Jael meant by “come sleep in my tent”).
One young man in the New Testament fell asleep during a sermon and fell out of a window (I know 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 the gift of a lifetime waiting for him!
While Abraham slept 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 and take her on a little trip to Bethlehem.

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!

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. Common wisdom of the day pressures us to abdicate sleep in order to push ahead or at least keep up.

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 we imagine, Jesus is saying “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 backs me up on this.

Sleep is an act of faith in crazy times when it seems that it all depends on us. In fact, getting enough rest may be a powerful witness to others.
People around us should be remarking – “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, witness to the truth of Christ, live out your trust in Jesus?
Take a nap.

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    The Conversation

  1. Wow. Such a great article. The point you made about God being active while we sleep, so powerful!

  2. Jennifer says:

    This is hysterical (both the post itself and the timing!). I just got in from errands, have a boat-load of things to do, and feel like I’m coming down with something. When the coffee at Phil’s only keeps you lively for an hour, you’re coming down with something. Such is the day. So I was debating on investing in a nap but checked email first. Thanks Lori, the nap is now next on my agenda. Why in the world would God not want me to rest and let him deal with my spinning list? I’ve been thinking on this lately – thanks for cementing the idea a bit further.

  3. Mary says:

    I like Jesus rhyming that we need to sleep and let him do what He does best…sorta sounds like Tigger as well! 😉

  4. Linda Byce says:

    And the funny thing is –
    I’m awake at 3:55am reading this
    I can’t fall back to sleep after being
    up checking on David.
    This really touches me after getting only
    49 full nights of sleep during the past 6 years. Praising God that we finally have it worked out to where I’m getting 6 full hours of sleep a night! Yeah!!!
    This is the 4th night!
    I feel like a New Woman!

  5. Yes, I smiled . . . because I can relate.
    Instead of counting sheep I pray, repeat the books of the Bible, sing hymns I’m trying to memorize, recite Scripture I have or hope to learn by heart, . . . I’ve called out to God using biblical promises. I still struggle.
    I’m beginning to think I’m just into that stage of life when my sleeping chemistry is running low. Never mind, I’ll persevere. Thanks for the encouragement. 😀

  6. Still pondering the idea of Jesus being able to sleep in tumultuous circumstances and dangerous situations. I keep thinking about an image I’ve built in my mind of Christ the Shepherd laying down to sleep across the opening of His sheepfold. I’ve got my Bible open next to me at John 10. Verse 7 says “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep.” Maybe that’s what fed my imagination.

    In spite of the wolves threatening to attack, verse 11 reports, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” What better Truth to contemplate in the watches of the night than that My Savior is on guard over me in this way.