Sleep, God’s Precious Gift

I woke up one morning still exhausted after just five hours sleep. Wearily I picked up my copy of the Daily Bread Devotional and read, “During sleep, God has an opportunity to heal us, to renew us, even to rearrange our minds.” I read the sentence a second time. I thought, during sleep God is busy working within me. I knew that healing happens while our bodies are at rest but I’d never thought about God rearranging my mind. God must really enjoy having a free hand with me while I sleep. God wouldn’t have much chance rearranging my mind when I’m awake. Concerns, plans, ideas constantly flood my mind.

Still, I’ve always considered sleep a waste of time. Grudgingly, I drag myself off to bed at twelve or one a.m. Even though I’m retired I’m happiest when I’m up again by six-thirty.  I wondered, does God get frustrated when I totally disregard my need for sleep? What makes me think that my work, no matter how necessary and valuable, my ministry of caring, even my pleasure (when I party or read until 2:00 a.m.) is more important than God’s work within me while I sleep? I’ve always thought of sleep as one of the ways that I care for this body God has given me. Never before had I considered rationing my sleep time as getting in God’s way, as causing God frustration, as cramping God’s work to transform me. Many young parents become sleep deprived as they care for their children and fulfill their responsibilities. Maybe, besides prayer, we could offer the gift of child care while they sleep.

I reread the devotional. Thank you for reminding me, I thought. Sleep is God’s gift. I need to receive it with gratitude. “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)

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