Sleepless Nights

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I was chatting with my friend John the other day about a new ministry he is beginning. He’s at the age when most people begin to dream of retirement and he’s contemplating doing something that would challenge a thirty-year old man.

I smiled when he observed that things are okay in the daytime but when he wakes up in the night it’s a different story. Boy, did I ever know that feeling.

Why do things look so much more threatening and scary during the night than they do when the sun is shining? Your faith holds the devil at bay during the day but it seems your defenses are down at night. “Mister Spock, get me some power on that number one shield! Quick!”

“What are you going to do if you can’t sell that house?” “Look what happened to her child. What if that happens to yours?” “Your son is away from God and he’ll never come back!” “Think about what they are saying. What if people believe it?” “This disease will finish you off.” “How are you ever going to pay that bill?”

And worst of all, “Where is God? He said He would help but nothing is happening.”

Don’t feel too bad if you’re attacked by ideas like this when insomnia stirs your brain. You’re not the first. Here’s something the Lord gave to people who were a little shaky at night, “Thou shalt not be afraid for the TERROR by night” (Ps. 91:5). Or does this fellow sound familiar? “I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.” (Ps. 6:6).

And sometimes it’s God himself who keeps me awake! “Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing…”Ps. 17:3

Okay, David, misery loves company and I’m really encouraged to hear that others have been wretched at night. But what do I do? Take a Tylenol PM?

Hey, as long as you’re awake anyway, why don’t you get something good out of it? Here’s some suggestions for wide-awake times in the middle of the night.

Begin to ask yourself, “Does God say anything in His Word about my situation?” (The thing that’s causing you to be awake). Think about it. “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and NIGHT. (Ps. 1:2). This is the successful man. Whatever he does prospers (Ps. 1:3). So help yourself be successful while you’re lying there. Think about God’s Word and apply it to your situation.

There are other good ways to while away the time. “…Silently search your heart as you lie in bed.” (Ps. 4:4, CEV). “I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.” (Ps. 77:6). If things aren’t going right, it’s a good time to reflect on your life and ask God if you’ve disobeyed in some area. If you have, why don’t you repent and ask His strength to do it right?

And people often hear from God in the night. He gives them direction. “I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons. (Ps. 16:7). The night is a great time to hear His voice—no kids, no television, no boss. Just quiet.

When Nehemiah went to Jerusalem to rebuild it, he even got up in the night to inspect the ruined city and study the situation. The voices which would tell him rebuilding was impossible were all lifted in snores at that moment and the only voice he heard was God’s. He was inspired and he was able to inspire the others to begin rebuilding the wall the next day.

While you at it, why don’t you do a little remembering? “…my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.“ (Ps. 63:5-7). Remembering the things He has done for us is so important. It leads to rejoicing and praise as well as the realization that we’re hidden under the shadow of His wings. We see fear evaporate and praise burst forth.

Are you passing through a dark night in your own life? ”The day is thine, the night also is thine…” (Ps. 74:16). God doesn’t step off the throne at night. He still reigns.

God came to Solomon in the night and gave him a powerful promise (1 Kings 3:5). God destroyed the enemies of His people one night. (2 Kings 19:35). The Lord still hears prayer in the hours of darkness and He even gives us a song in the middle of our insomnia (Psalm 42:8)

Actually this Coffee Stain was born in a bout of sleeplessness. (Are you surprised?). I’d be a little naïve to think we’re all going to rejoice the next time we wake up in the middle of the night. “Oh, goodie! I get to wake up tonight. Isn’t that wonderful since I have to get up at 6 am to get ready for work?!”

No, but when we do wake up, why not get something out of it? “For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)

Good night!

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