I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me. (Psalm 3:5)
Because God knows that we’re both forgetful and self-sufficient, he’s kindly woven many reminders into each day that we are dependent on him. Sleep is a beautiful example of this.
On average we need somewhere between six and eight hours of sleep every night. Things begin to unravel when we don’t get those precious hours. I remember being at a conference with a friend who had only gotten two hours of sleep the previous night. He informed me that during the morning session he actually lost the ability to focus his eyes on the speaker. Without sleep our bodies fall apart.
Our daily need for sleep is a daily reminder that we need God. Sleep is a divine Post-It note with the following words written in bold, capital letters: YOU ARE NOT GOD. Only God doesn’t slumber or sleep, and he’s the one who keeps life flowing through our bodies while we sleep. Sleep is a wonderful reminder that we’re weak, frail little creatures who turn into babbling idiots when deprived of sleep.
Every night before bed we have the God-given opportunity grow in humility by expressing our dependence and need for God. Let’s not let that opportunity slip by. Instead of drifting into dreamworld without a second thought, let’s seize the moment to express our desperate need for God. Let’s ask him to keep us breathing through the night, ask him for the gift of sleep, and praise him as the only one who doesn’t need sleep.
In doing these things sleep will become more than closing the eyes. It will be a means of glorifying God by humbling ourselves before him.
NOTE: Most of my thoughts on this have been shaped by C.J. Mahaney’s outstanding message A Biblical Understanding of Sleep.