Lie Down and Sleep
If this reads sleepy, I ask for some grace. After getting to bed early (for me) last night, the wind abruptly woke me only an hour-and-half later. This was not a playful breeze, or even a few strong gusts that usher in a snowstorm. This wind was a sustained over-40 mph gale, with gusts up to 60 mph, which blew all night.
There I was, winds buffeting my home, so fierce that I could hear the house creaking, my front porch swing hitting the rail and unknown items crashing around in the dark night. Adding to my worries about the windstorm outside was that, before heading to bed, I had been struggling with an internal windstorm: Trying to determine where I should head in my career.
Not much to do – except pray.
I prayed to the Creator who rides on the wings of the wind; I prayed to the Son of Man who on judgment day will gather His elect from the four winds and I fearfully cried out to Jesus, who even the winds obey.
“Please, Father,” I begged, “Calm the winds. Show me the direction you will have me go. I’m tired. I need to sleep.” But, unlike the disciples on the Sea of Galilee, neither of my storms ceased.
The cycle began – I would fall asleep for a few minutes, the wind would blow or something would crash or my dog would wake up, and my tired eyes would once more open.
Around 4:30 in the morning, with the winds still raging, I tried to sing myself to sleep. My worn-out brain found the German hymn “Now the Light Has Gone Away.” As I started singing – “Father, listen while I pray, Asking Thee to watch and keep, And to send me quiet sleep” – I remembered that the hymn is based on Psalm 4.
This psalm ends with the confident,
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8)
In my prayers through the night, I had expressed a shallow kind of trust in God, believing that God should do what I thought correct: Stop the winds from blowing and show me right then what direction I should head.
But the trust that the psalmist writes of is deeper.
Nothing is asked of God. No demands are made of Him. The distress expressed earlier in Psalm 4 is set aside in exchange for the firm belief that only God makes us dwell in safety.
The God to whom the psalmist cried out , and the one to whom I had pleaded with all night, is the same one who created the winds, who commands the storms, who will one day gather me and all believers to Himself for eternity. He is righteous and ever-merciful. At the perfect time, He will calm the storms.
As dawn beckoned, I prayed once more. “I believe. Help me with my unbelief.” Finally, with the winds still blowing outside and no answers to the storm of questions in my head, I peacefully slept.
See You In The Round!
*Scripture quotations are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.