by Seattle ALC
“When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.”
I’ve heard it said, that we can die from lack of sleep faster than from hunger. While I don’t know if this is true, I do know how poor we feel when we lack sleep. Many people need less sleep than others, but we all need the restorative effects that sleep brings. One of the providential things that God created for us when he separated day and night, was a time to sleep.
In performing my electrical trade in a hospital, I learned about something called Circadian Rhythm. This rhythm follows a 24-hour cycle with periods of sleep and periods of wakefulness. Because some people have to spend long periods in the hospital, we had to install a lighting system that simulated sun rising and sun setting. This was done so the patients could maintain a normalcy in their circadian rhythm and sleep more naturally for better healing.
One of the keys to better sleep is a sense of security. Children will often come to their parents for comfort after experiencing a bad dream. Parents sleep better when they have done a final check of all the doors and windows in the house. Another part of that security is the peace we have in Jesus Christ. Nights can be long when we have the burden of sin on our minds. We can busy ourselves during the daytime in order to put these kinds of thoughts out of our mind, but in the quiet stillness of the night we are left with just our thoughts. I don’t find it a coincidence that our Savior was born at night. He came that darkness would be made light. He came to conquer those things that keep us from restful sleep. Instead we are able to have that sweet sleep that the Proverbs writer mentioned.
There is another kind of sleep that for a believer is sweet and peaceful. This is the sleep of death. My wife has had some recent opportunities to travel to see family, and also to attend the funeral of a loved one. I was happy for her to go, but admittedly had a case of the “missing her” blues as the week went on. One evening on one of her trips, while we were talking on the phone she used a phrase that we’ve adopted with the smaller children when they haven’t yet acquired an understanding of time. She said “ only one more sleep until we see each other”. We’ve used this term “sleep” as a unit of time for our little children. They invariably get excited about some future event and are always asking lots of questions about when it’s going to happen. For instance they might know we are going on a road trip, but don’t really grasp that we are leaving on say Friday. When we tell them it’s only one or two more “sleeps” they seem to grasp the concept a little better.
After I heard that term from my wife, I was reading in the Word and read a verse in Thessalonians that brought great comfort. It is in the first book Paul wrote to them in the 4th chapter verse 13: “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. “As believers we recognize that while death is our final enemy, we really are blessed to be asleep in Christ where time ceases to exist, and we wait for his second coming where we will be able to be raised from our rest and be caught up to meet him in the air along with those who are alive.
After reading this, I had the thought, that while we all will face death in this life, we can think “we only have one more sleep”. We too can be excited about a future event and be comforted by the thought of Jesus coming in the clouds. He has been at the right hand of his father making intercession for us and at a time that only he knows, he will return. What a blessed thought to have that hope, and to be able to say as Paul did in his letter to the Corinthians, “oh death where is thy sting, oh grave where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. …” I Corinthians 15: 55-57
Praise God for his unspeakable mercies toward us in Christ!
Submitted by Pastor Stan