Are You Sleeping
“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.
“You have placed joy in my heart greater than the joy when grain and new wine are plentiful. In complete peace I will lie down, and I will sleep, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” Psalm 4:7-8 (EHV).
Chaplain Kenneth Wenzel