We often deceive ourselves into thinking that we are in charge of our lives. That the world works according to our plans and ambitions. Often, we forget that God works according to his will. He holds the power to everything- from the most minute thing to the grandest thing. One way God reminds us that he is ultimately in control is the gift of sleep.
Has it crossed your mind why did God actually created sleep? Sure, it was to take one of Adam’s ribs back in Eden, but did it have to be permanent? Surely, it would have been better if we could stay awake all day every day and continue with work and life’s business but instead there are those moments everyday where we can barely keep our eyelids open, when a deep sense of tiredness overcomes our senses until we finally give in to the battle of staying awake.
During exam seasons, many of us lose hours of sleep to revise. Some take coffee, others get through energy drinks just so they can keep their eyes open. Yet even with the chemicals we take to stay awake, there always comes that point where we give in and so find ourselves waking up to find that the books we were reading had become pillows 😊
Surveys have shown that as we age, the number of hours we spend sleeping decreases ad that is no surprise. However, as much as we may have a million and one things to do, God still commands us to rest. Here are some reasons why
1. We are not God.
God created sleep in order to remind us that we are not Him which should be clear but it is a fact that we often forget. It is to remind us that we are not in charge and this should cause us to humble ourselves before Him. God does not slumber nor sleep (Psalm 121:4) but we do and so when we sleep, we are acknowledging that He truly is the creator and He is superior.
2. Sleeping is a gift from God.
In Psalms 127 verse 2, it says that God gives his beloved sleep. Hence, when we decide to take a break from the business of life, we are affirming the fact that we are his beloved. However, this is not to say we should give in to every sense of tiredness and neglect what we need to do - that borders into laziness and God warns strongly against that.
3. Our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit.
There is no denying the physical benefits of sleeping and resting. When we do not sleep, we not only suffer mentally and physically, but also bring out our sinful nature because when there is a lack of sleep we are prone to angry outbursts, slander and insults. Paul says that he beats his body into submission to the will of God and as Christians, we should be aware and guard against the things which lead us to sin.
4. Jesus slept.
In Mark 4 verse 34- 38 we find Jesus sleeping during a storm. Jesus had been teaching by the lake and when the evening came, He and His disciples left the multitudes to cross over to the other side in a boat. As they traveled, "a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling." And so, the disciples searched for Jesus in hope that he would calm the storms. But where do they find him? Verse 38 says Jesus was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. Most of us read this passage and are left quite shocked that Jesus, the Son of God, is sleeping at a time like this.
Jesus slept because He had faith in the promises of God and that there was no point in him staying awake worrying about the storm. When we choose to rest and take a break, we are saying to our father in heaven that we trust him to help us through all our problems.
Proverbs 3:24 says ‘If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.’
A word of caution…
This article is in no way promoting slothfulness or laziness. There is a fine line between sleeping to God's glory and sleeping to satisfy selfish needs. The Bible speaks harshly against the latter (Proverbs 20:13, Proverbs 6:9-10).
This article is to serve as a reminder to all of us that we need to often take a step back, rest, and sleep especially in a world where it seems everything is moving a hundred times faster and we want to keep up.
Moreover, I am aware that sleeping does not come naturally to some and it is often a struggle but if we know anything on this blog, it is that with God all things are possible. Thus, pray that you will be able to sleep because that is what he promises His beloved.