God’s Word for those who cannot sleep

God’s Word for those who cannot sleep July 10, 2013

In the last post in the middle of Psalm 102 there is a simple phrase “I lie awake” Sleep escapes many people, and this can be particularly true of those who have a mental illness. There are some practical things we can do to help us sleep, but sometimes they do not help. The Bible is full of promises that we can read at a time like that. The way to do this is not to read them and think to yourself “well that’s not fair, this verse says I should be able to sleep,” rather we are to lay ahold of the verses as promises, and remind God of them.

So, our prayer might sound something like this, “Lord God, your word promises that you give your beloved sleep, so here I am asking you to fulfill your promise in my life. I know that thanks to the death of Jesus, I am one of your beloved. Right now I cannot sleep, so please help me to sleep.

Some of the Bible verses that help us are as follows:

Firstly, there is a promise to us that if we follow God’s ways of wisdom, one of the many good consequences will be peaceful sleep:

My son, do not lose sight of these— keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck. Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble. If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes, for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught. (Proverbs 3:21–26).

You will note the link between anxiety and sleeplessness, these next verses reassure us of God’s care for us, as well as gently rebuking those of us who deliberately try to burn the candle at both ends rather than graciously accepting God’s gift of sleep:

In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8).

I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the LORD sustained me. (Psalm 3:5.)

“It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. (Ps 127:2).

One reason we can confidently rest is that we know that our God never does:

Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. (Psalm 121:4)

I love what Spurgeon had to say on this subject:

OURS is not a life of anxious care, but of happy faith. Our heavenly Father will supply the wants of his own children, and he knoweth what we have need of before we ask him. We may therefore go to our beds at the proper hour, and not wear ourselves out by sitting up late to plot, and plan, and contrive. If we have learned to rely upon our God we shall not lie awake with fear gnawing at our hearts; but we shall leave our care with the Lord, our meditation of him shall be sweet, and he will give us sleep. To be the Lord’s beloved is the highest possible honour, and he who has it may feel that ambition itself could desire no more, and therefore every selfish wish may go to sleep. What more is there even in heaven than the love of God? Rest, then, O soul, for thou hast all things. Yet we toss to and fro unless the Lord himself gives us not only the reasons for rest, but rest itself. Yea, he doth this. Jesus himself is our peace, our rest, our all. On his bosom we sleep in perfect security, both in life and in death. “Sprinkled afresh with pardoning blood, I lay me down to rest, As in the embraces of my God, Or on my Saviour’s breast.” C. H. Spurgeon, The Cheque Book of the Bank of Faith: Being Precious Promises Arranged for Daily Use With Brief Comments (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2009), 184.

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