Get some rest

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Did you ever think taking a nap could honor God?

Most of us believe that if we want to honor God with our lives we have to do something painful or give up something huge. Ingrained into our thinking is the idea that God wants to make our lives full of drudgery so he is only honored by some great sacrifice. While God is honored when it costs to follow him, Psalm 4 tells us that he is also honored by sleep.

Psalm 4:8 reads, "I will lie down in peace and sleep, for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe." (NLT)

Psalm four is composed against the background of personal distress. Its author writes at a time when he was experiencing a great stress that could have resulted in many sleepless nights. Looking at his life and circumstances, the psalmist arrives at the conclusion that, instead of clinging to the uncontrollable elements of his problem, the greater demonstration of faith and trust in God is lying down at night and going to sleep.

Deciding to lie down and sleep is an act of trust. Each of us has problems in our lives that fall into one of three categories: those we can change, those we can influence and those that we have no control of. Typically the sleepless nights are a result of the third category of problems. The decision to lie down and sleep despite what is happening in your life is a defiant proclamation that God can be trusted and is in control of those parts of your life that are uncontrollable.

Think of those sleepless nights induced by worry. How much was changed by worrying all night long? Was the problem any smaller? Was the situation any clearer? Perhaps your lack of sleep only compounded the problem by clouding your ability to pray and think.

Decisive sleep proudly proclaims that the world is not in my hands but in the hands of one who is in control. Decisive and trusting sleep is a confession that God really is for you. Decisive sleep says that God can control the uncontrollable, granting peace leading to safety.

Trust God. Take a nap.

Rob Hurtgen is a husband, father and serves as the associate pastor at the First Baptist Church in Jackson.

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