ODJ: The Gift of Sleep

March 3, 2016 

READ: Psalm 127:1-5 

It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones (v.2).

She told me that she was depressed. It was so bad that she had attempted suicide more than once. And even though she wasn’t at a dangerously dark state at that moment, she was still in a deep hole. Struggling with sleep, she hadn’t enjoyed a good night’s rest in a long, long time.

It’s hard to know what to say in such situations. My hope was that I could direct her to our loving God and to others who would compassionately come alongside her. We talked about a variety of things—whether or not she was taking medication, about her relationships with other people and with God, and about her good and bad habits. Both of us agreed that if she could begin to sleep well, it would help her feel better emotionally and physically.

You and I know that a lack of true rest can make it difficult to handle the challenges of life. When it comes to sleep, I’m always fascinated that Jesus slept on a boat in the midst of a raging storm (Mark 4:38). How on earth could He do that? Wasn’t it appropriate for Him to be alarmed and anxious? The disciples didn’t get it either. But the psalmist points to an answer: “God gives rest to his loved ones” (127:2). He “protects” and “guards” His own—encouraging them to rest in His loving arms (v.1). Does this mean that those of us who have trouble sleeping are loved less? No. Even in our struggle to rest, God is with us. We can rest in Him even when our eyes refuse to stay shut.

During those times, may we learn to “give [our] burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of [us]” (Psalm 55:22). As we do, we can choose to confidently wait to receive the sweet gift of sleep that He alone can provide for us—His loved ones (127:2).

—Marlena Graves

365-day-plan: Joshua 7:1-26

Read Philippians 4:6-8. What must we do in order to experience a peaceful, restful state? 
What’s robbing you of sweet sleep? How can you learn to receive the gift of rest from God? What do you need to cast on Him today?