by Charles W. Page, M.D., FACS
Practicing Christianity Every Day begins and ends with the yielding of a follower’s sleep habits to the One whose eyes never close. Has it ever crossed your mind that God is concerned with your attitude towards sleep? Sleep deprivation, sleep disorders and lack of rest are huge topics being discussed in today’s nanosecond culture. Have you ever explored what the Creator has to say about sleep and rest?
As a Christian surgeon who faces the possibility of sleep deprivation daily, I have learned to tackle this issue from several different angles. I have been overwhelmed at how much the scriptures can teach us about sleep and rest. Since we sleep for about one-third of our lives it’s important for believers to understand it from a Christian worldview.
Sleep was God’s Idea
God wonderfully created mankind to rest about one third of their lives as a daily reminding us of our lack of control and need for surrender.
God is not the sandman
The scriptures do not provide some magical formula to get a little shut-eye. I present to you not a formula but rather a focus. If God created sleep and rest it would be wise to look at the owner’s manual–God’s word–for answers.
God’s eyes never close
The One who never slumbers or sleeps is just as active in our lives as we lay our heads on our pillows as when we are working, praying and living our daily routines.
As we explore God’s word several attitudes surface about sleep and rest:
A Calm heart
Jesus modeled the perfect balance between activity and rest. Trusting calmly in the protection and provision of His Father, Jesus slept peacefully in the bow of a ship in a raging tempest. Having the Spirit of Christ within, we who believe can rest in the peaceful assurance that God has our back–no matter what storms come our way. Like Jesus, His followers should never lose sleep over worry, fear, loneliness, anxiety, relational tensions or tasks left undone. Based on His unmerited favor, God does for us what we cannot do for ourselves as we sleep, providing for our needs and protecting us from harm’s way.
A Responsive Heart and a Servant’s Heart:
On the flip side, our Lord’s eyes never closed in the garden of Gethsemane. Surrendering to a greater purpose, Jesus prayed and prepared for the suffering of the cross. We typically think that the best way to prepare for a challenging day is to get as much sleep as possible. Ironically, the Lord acted in the reverse. Discipleship sometimes calls for sleeplessness to fulfill God’s purposes and plans for our lives–and the lives of others.
Have you ever awakened in the still of the night for some unknown reason? Perhaps it’s just some undigested Pizza? Or perhaps—it’s the Lord of the universe waking you up to pray for an unknown trial on the horizon. Perhaps God is waking you up to serve someone in need.
When God calls his followers to give up rest, He also supplies them with mercies that are new every morning. The yoke of exhaustion is easy and the burden of sleeplessness is light when we consider that the Lord is working in and through our lives.
An Enduring Heart:
Sometimes there are no answers for why we suffer with sleeplessness–incurable sleep disorders, the pain of chronic diseases–those “a thousand sleepless nights” mentioned in Laura Story’s popular song. Perhaps suffering with sleeplessness truly is a blessing in disguise. God’s grace is made perfect in our weakness. However, believers can victoriously endure understanding that heaven is just around the corner. Sleep will no doubt be much lower on our priority list as we experience the eternal presence of Jesus with incorruptible bodies, worshiping in the presence of the saints and the angels. So whatever sleeplessness believers endure in this world pales in comparison to the glory that shall be revealed when we arrive at our final destination. Insomnia may be a reminder that we are truly not home yet.
It’s all about surrender. As we diligently seek God’s kingdom, prioritizing Him first, He has promised to supply all these things–in our sleep or in our sleeplessness. Surrender your sleep to the One whose eyes never close. May God be your vision, your best thought by day or by night, waking or sleeping may His presence be your light.
Guest Post by Charles W. Page, M.D., FACS
Chuck is a surgeon, author and father of five who enjoys watching sunsets with his wife Joanna in their Texas sized tree house. Surrendered Sleep, a Biblical Perspective explores sleep and rest from the wisdom of God’s unchanging principles. Read his blog which discusses health care from a Christian world view Paging Dr. Page or check out his Facebook page Dr. Charles W. Page. Feel free to ask questions regarding health and faith.