Sleep

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. 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.

March Madness – Hail the Underdog!

underdogWell, March Madness has begun.  Even those who are not college basketball enthusiasts sometimes get swept up in the craze of filling out a bracket.  I actually was in a bracket challenge with someone last year who didn’t know that the numbers next to the team name in the brackets were the team ranking.  Whether you are a basketball fan or not it’s fun to watch Cinderella teams like Radford University play against the big dogs like University of North Carolina.  There is always that chance for an upset, and every year the tournament has its share of them.  For some reason we just love to root for the underdog.  We love to pull for the team that realistically has no shot of winning, but somehow ends up pulling a rabbit out of a hat.  They may be outsized, outcoached, and under-talented, but still they end up on top at the end.

Isn’t it funny that the throughout history the Christian church has often played the part of the underdog?  Actually the first 300 years of the Christian church consists of a smattering of empires, nations, and individuals bent on suppressing and/or eliminating Christians altogether.  But the Christian church has always ended up persevering.  Though seemingly outsized, outcoached, and under-talented, we are the Church triumphant!  Because it doesn’t matter that the church is a rag-tag group of misfits from the playground, because it is ultimately not up to us.  It is in the hands of the one who made the rules, who invented the game, and who wins it all in the end!  So be encouraged today.  Whatever situation you may be facing that appears that you have no realistic shot of rising above by resting in the arms of your Heavenly Father you can trust that victory will come.  It may not look like you thought it should, it probably won’t come easy, it will definitely cost you something, but, in the end, it will be so worth it.

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my  beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.  1 Corinthians 15:57-58 ESV