Sleep is essential, but our bodies sometimes treat it as optional. We need sleep to rest, repair, and prepare ourselves for the stress to come in the next day. But some days, sleep just won’t come. For instance, right now. I woke up at 2:00am and simply could NOT go back to sleep! I tossed and turned, alternately staring at the ceiling then staring at my family, who are all asleep (jealous!), and wondering what’s up with this. Why can’t I sleep? My body is tired, my mind is calm…but my eyes are not heavy and my brain will not shut down. What to do?
I started to look for what God says about sleep, and found this verse:
“In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves.” – Psalm 127:2
That is supremely unhelpful. God, don’t you love me? Then please shut me down! Is this verse saying that God does not love me when I am in the throes of insomnia? Perhaps this points to something deeper than that. This verse indicates that sleep is a gift that God gives and thus the implication is that He can withhold it, too. So, instead of looking at insomnia with frustration, we can see that there is purpose behind it. The lying-awake times are a purposeful engagement of God to our hearts. When we sleep, He is granting us rest. When we are wide awake when everyone else is asleep, maybe God is trying to get our attention. Maybe there’s something He has to say that we haven’t listened to in the rush-rush busyness of our day. Maybe the noise has drowned Him out. Maybe He rouses our consciousness in the quiet of the night because that’s when the “still, small voice” has the best chance to break through.
When I wake up in the middle of the night, I hope I can learn not to respond in frustration. Maybe I respond like Samuel, who, when woken up from a deep sleep by God, learned to respond with “yes, Lord, I am listening.”
Has God ever spoken to you in the middle of the night?