“I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.” — Psalm 3:5
Athletes and coaches typically enjoy what they do, and often get an adrenaline rush before, during and after games and matches. Many times it’s easier to get motivated for competition than it is to wind down after a big event to get a good night’s rest. Not to mention the continuous pressure to improve and succeed, making sleep hard to come by at times.
As the chief commander of his army and king of his nation, David’s life was often in danger and he was afraid. David had many close calls, but God preserved his life several times for many years. Sometimes he couldn’t sleep, but in one particular instance God gave him a psalm to write to encourage not only himself but all generations.
David prayed and the Lord calmed his anxiety: “I call out to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy mountain. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side” (Psalm 3:4-6). Though David was hunted by his enemies, he slept peacefully because he was mindful of God’s presence and protection throughout the night.
Paul was an apostle and knew the Bible well. He was a man of strong faith, yet he was under a lot of pressure and couldn’t sleep some nights. He was tortured by the authorities who tried to stop him from preaching the Gospel. He kept sharing the Gospel even when it wasn’t easy. Paul prayed often because he loved God, but also because he needed God to strengthen him as he dealt with stress of all kinds.
He gave a summary of his suffering: “Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked” (2 Corinthians 11:25-27). You could say he knew stress and sorrow well.
When we endure sleepless nights due to sorrow, pain, loneliness, conflicts, breakups, job stress and other problems, we can to turn to God, who is infinite in power. The Creator is able to sustain us through every difficulty. “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip — he who watches over you will not slumber” (Psalm 121:2-3).
Since God never sleeps, we can go to sleep every night and trust the Lord to bring us through the night and whatever we face.
— Bill Kent, Pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, Sylvania, Georgia
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