“Are you sleeping? Are you sleeping, brother John?” So sings a nursery song. Now the question is: are we sleeping physically and spiritually? I once thought I could stay awake while driving home. Halfway into a ditch I woke up and avoided a crash. Thinking we can rely on ourselves to stay awake spiritually is also dangerous. Spiritual sleep can creep up on us when we stay away from Jesus’ saving words.
Spiritual sleeping can lead to earthly and eternal consequences.
Consider the first record of sleep.
“The Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. As the man slept, the Lord God took a rib and closed up the flesh where it had been. The Lord God built a woman from the rib that he had taken from the man and brought her to the man” Genesis 2:21-22
The LORD God, who is full of “love and goodness” and “wisdom and power,” used a physical sleep to create Eve as a partner for Adam. But both ignored God’s warning and fell spiritually asleep. After they sinned, they saw how their spiritual sleep started to wreck God’s world and life, itself. “Are you sleeping? Are you sleeping, dear friend?”
Holly’s little son was going blind, and she was fearful that his blindness was God’s way of getting back at her for the sinful life she had led. She had gotten into a car accident while driving drunk and caused the death of her friend. She had gotten pregnant and had an abortion. Still haunted by her past, she feared that she would never sleep in peace again.
Holly was a Christian, but she was struggling with unresolved guilt. She needed to be reassured of forgiveness through Jesus’ saving death upon the cross. After reassuring her of God’s love and forgiveness, she was filled with peace, and no longer feared drawing near to God in order to pray for her son’s healing. The next time we visited, Holly told me that the Lord had stopped her son’s blindness from progressing, and she was finally able to sleep in peace. Together, we thanked God for physical healing and spiritual peace.
IM Ministry Insight
During our many days, the Lord God has not slept one second. In fact, for the thousands of earthly years, our Lord has never closed his eyes in sleep. As a spirit, he has no body to tire out. What a great comfort this is for us as He watches over our lives. Our every minute, hour, day, and year is watched. When some of our time is spent in sin, we hope that God is sleeping. We really deserve his anger and punishment. But thanks be to Jesus who takes away our every sin. Jesus washes away our sins with his blood on the cross and presents us as fully forgiven to God. In that peace, we can physically sleep at peace with our watchful God.
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot stumble. He who watches over you will not slumber. Yes, he who watches over Israel [believers] will not slumber. He will not sleep. The Lord watches over you….The Lord will watch over your going and your coming from now to eternity.” Psalm 121:1-5