“It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.” (Psalm 127:2) Anxiousness, nervousness, fearful and uneasy, all of these terminologies describe a large part of the population of the world today, they are, in the simplest of terms, worried.
Fear is the base root word here, fear of the loss of something, usually a drastic change in the order that their lives have been revolving around for an extended period of time. Stability is a necessary trait in most people, and any deviation from that so-called secure path causes a sense of fear. Speaking on behalf of the lost, of which many of you reading this letter, including myself, once were, when these times of fear come upon them, one of the adverse effects of it is the loss of sleep, they will lay in their beds for hours, worrying about the future, a future that in many ways they can do absolutely nothing about. The lost have placed all of their faith in themselves and the world around them, when an unfavorable circumstance enters into their lives, and they cannot control its direction, they fear, and sleep is taken from them.
“When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.” (Prov. 3:24) Of course, some of the same problems that affect those who do not know Christ as Savior can affect those who do, the world they live in is the same one we live in, there is no escaping certain circumstances that affect the entire population, or at last the majority of it. It is the way that we view these circumstances that sets us apart from the world, for we are to trust in the Lord at all times. Nothing happens to the child of God that is not for his good, (Rom. 8:28) it is the amount of trust that we have in the Lord that determines if we can see the good or not, but in reality, whether we see any good or not in the situation, we are still to trust. When we lay down at the end of the day, sleep will not hide from us, we will not be afraid, in fact, we will rest quite comfortably, if we trust.
Herod killed James, the brother of John, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he arrested Peter and put him in jail, supposing to do the same to him. (Acts 12) “And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison.” (Acts 12:6) “Well, James is dead, the church is in serious persecution, Herod says that he is going to kill me tomorrow, I guess I had better get some sleep.” You have lost your job and the bank account is slowly dwindling, the world seems to be in upheaval and there seems to be no hope in sight, a family member is sick and it does not look as if they are going to get better, tell me, how are you sleeping. Peter is in jail and they are going to kill him tomorrow, and he falls fast asleep, you really don’t think that was because he was just exhausted, do you?
“I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:8) Trust, trust that He is sovereign, trust that you are loved beyond all measure, trust that He who rules the universe can be trusted with every aspect of your life, and that His promises are faithful and true. For some reason it takes some born-again believers a very long time to trust in the Lord with all their heart, (Prov. 3:5-6) they seem to need proof of His unending hand of security in each and every situation. Doubt is not only brought upon by Satan in our minds my friends, it is well hidden within each one of us, ready to spring forth at a moments notice, ready to accuse God that He in this certain situation must once again prove that He can be trusted.
The Scriptures are full of this lack of trust, even after the Lord had shown that He could be trusted, but in nearly every situation it seems necessary for some to need Him to prove that loving care over and over again. I believe that the tendency of many of these individuals, these whose faith is genuine, but still weak, is to forget not only the times that our Lord has proven His love to them in the past, but to forget where they will be in the future, in the eternal. They lose track of their purpose here on this earth, to glorify God and obey His commandments, “Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.” (Isa. 43:7) and so when the unexpected arrives that threatens to modify the existence that they have become accustomed to, they doubt, they fear, and sleep flies from them. Think on that for a moment my brothers and sisters, Peter fell asleep, he was sleeping so soundly in fact that the angel had to “smote him on the side’ (Acts 12:7) just to wake him up. And what was that thing that you were worried about again, what was that situation that you currently find yourself in that is causing a restful night to flee from you?
We should expect these moments of insomnia from the lost, they have no rest because they will not seek the rest that can come only from the trusting faith that is Jesus Christ, but we are not to be conformed to the world, (Rom. 12:2) we are being transformed by Christ, and the fear that they are experiencing should have no place in our lives. We are the only Bible that some of these lost souls will ever read, and when we act as they do, when we worry and fret about the current situations not only in our own lives, but the circumstances that surround the entire world, we show that our faith is weak, and what they need to see is the strength that can come only from the firm foundation that is Christ. By our actions, we show our trust, and it is in this trust that we show them that they too may come to see that He indeed is trustworthy.
“Casting all your care upon him; for He careth for you.” (1st Peter 5:7) Isn’t it amazing, the man who slept so soundly the night before he was to be executed wrote that we are to cast all our cares upon the Lord, do you suppose that night came into his mind as he wrote these words. There is a trust within each one of the followers of Jesus Christ that we simply do not want to believe at times, we begin to doubt, we falter at the opportunity to increase our faith, to realize that not just in this particular circumstance will He prove Himself trustworthy again, but in every single one of them. It is up to us, we have simply to believe that He is faithful who promised, and then lay our heads down, rejoice in the knowledge that all is secure in the strong hands of Almighty God, and that one day all cares and worries will be a thing of the far-flung past.
You can start today you know, or better yet, tonight, the moment your head hits the pillow.