ODJ: sleepless nights

August 4, 2014 

READ: Genesis 32:22-32 

Jacob named the place Peniel (which means “face of God”), for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared” (v.30).

Sleep. It’s one of the most underrated pleasures in life.There’s nothing like a good night’s rest or napping on a rainy day. My bed feels like a refuge—a small sanctuary from the cares of life. 

On some nights, however, sleep is hard to find. In the dark stillness, cares and concerns of all kinds can leave us tossing and turning. 

The Bible contains two dramatic accounts of sleepless nights that may offer some guidance for those occasions when sleep eludes us. The first story is found in Genesis. Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, was returning home for the first time in 20 years after having cheated his twin brother Esau out of their father’s inheritance (Genesis 27:1-36, 32:1-12). Alone and afraid of what Esau might do to him, Jacob found himself in an all-night wrestling match with God (32:22-30). 

Centuries later, Jesus experienced His own sleepless night. As darkness descended on Jerusalem, Jesus found Himself praying alone in a grove of trees outside of the city. Unlike His disciples who couldn’t stay awake, Jesus wrestled and surrendered to the reality that a bloodthirsty mob was coming for Him, and there would be no sleep for Him that night (Mark 14:32-36). 

During both nights, Jacob and Jesus wrestled through their cares with God. Jacob pleaded for a personal blessing (Genesis 32:26-30). Jesus asked His heavenly Father to withhold the cup of suffering that was needed to fulfil God’s promise to bless all the nations through Israel (12:2-3; Mark 14:36). But He surrendered to the Father’s perfect will.

Are the cares of life keeping you up? It’s okay to pray for sleep to come. But sometimes a sleepless night is God’s invitation to wrestle with Him so that our need can meet His grace. —Jeff Olson

365-day plan› Luke 11:33-54

Read Psalm 4:8 and Proverbs 3:24 and consider what it says about sleep.
Do you recall a sleepless night when you wrestled with God? Did it lead to a blessing in your life or perhaps a call to be a blessing to others? If you’re in need of more sleep, what will you do to get more of it this week?