Sleep is a wonderful thing. Though I have never taken any formal survey, or seen one for that matter, I would have to say that most of us say kudos to sleep. Who of us doesn’t desire whenever our head finally hits the pillow that we have the kind of night sleep which results in us waking up in the morning feeling rested, refreshed and ready to take on the challenges of a new day? As a matter of fact, we so long for that kind of sleep on a regular basis that we even have sleep specialists who help us diagnose the reasons why we don’t get the kind of sleep we crave.
We crave this sleep but, if you’re like me it seems as though with each passing year of life it becomes more and more difficult to not only get the quality of sleep I desire but also the quantity of sleep as well. The ‘to do’ list just gets longer and longer and the days seem to get shorter and shorter, and one of the things that seems easiest to squeeze out of our lives is just a little bit of sleep.
And this fact isn’t true for adults only. While I was living in Columbus, Ohio, a few years ago, there was a study conducted of middle and high school students in the surrounding area and what it revealed was that students were, on average, getting less than six hours of sleep a night. Now in my experience for the average teenager six hours is considered more of an afternoon nap than a full night sleep.
The question I have is why? Why, if sleep is such an important and desired commodity, do we so quickly sacrifice it at the altar of performance, success or busyness? Could it be that we are reluctant to admit that we are not invincible, that we really are weaker than we let on.
When you think about it sleep really is a very humbling endeavor. Everything about it humbles us. The fact that we need to rejuvenate, that we just can’t continue going and going non-stop until we choose to take a break humbles us. There is a limit to our ability to keep going and a point at which, whether we want to our not our bodies will force us to sleep. No matter how strong or powerful we may be our weakness is still revealed by the fact that we need sleep. Then there is the fact that in sleep we place ourselves in a position of near total vulnerability to our surroundings. Even the lightest sleeper does not have total awareness of everything going on around them as the slumber. All this leads us to a healthy reminder that we are needy beings. We are dependent and we are to some degree weak.
There is only one Being I know who is not in need of sleep. Scripture tells us that God never sleeps or slumbers. He is the only Being who doesn’t need the rejuvenation and refreshment that sleep brings to keep going. God is the divine Energizer bunny, the One who keeps going and going and going and never runs out of steam. And He is the one who has blessed us with this wonderful gift of sleep. Not only as a means of rejuvenation and refreshment but also as a reminder that He is God and we are not. He is in control and we are called to trust Him. Though we may not be able to complete everything on our ‘to do’ list before out head hits the pillow that doesn’t rustle God’s feathers and therefore it shouldn’t rustle ours either. Because when we wake up in the morning the sun will still rise, the earth will still turn on its axis and our ‘to do’ list will still be there for us. Oh and God will still be God worthy of all our trust and dependence. So every time your head hits the pillow say a prayer of thanks to God that He never sleeps but takes care of the business of holding everything together and seeing that it runs smoothly.