Insomnia is a thief, for it robs us of needed rest for our bodies and our minds. And it seems insomnia is the first to jump on the bandwagon when trials come, making it impossible to find peace and have hope. As a teenager, I spent many a night alone as my mother worked the midnight shift on her job and my sister had married and moved away.
One night, some guys tried to break in the house, but my friend’s father thwarted the attempt. For weeks I could not sleep, for fear that they would return and get in the house. When my aunt saw how exhausted I was each day, she wanted to know what was the problem. I told her that I could not sleep because I was so scared. She had me read Psalm 4:8, “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.” I put my faith in God, and I slept from that night on.
David reminds us in the psalm studied this week, Psalm 3, that if we put our trust in God for peace, protection, and provision in our lives, insomnia will cease to be a problem. It is good news for many who suffer from sleep deprivation and the horrendous consequences it creates, including the inability for right thinking and decision-making.
Psalm 3:1-4 O Lord, I have many enemies; so many are against me. So many are saying, “God will never rescue him!” But you, O Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high. I cried out to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy mountain.
The New Living Translation notes that this psalm was written during the time David fled from his son Absalom, who was attempting to take the Kingdom from his father. But David had God on his side, for David had learned from earlier trials that the Lord would protect him, becoming a shield around him. He knew that his prayer for Absalom to receive bad advice (2 Samuel 15:31) would be answered, so he kept his head up, fully expecting victory over his wayward son.
Psalm 3:5-6 I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the Lord was watching over me. I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side.
What a testimony to faith in God to rescue and protect! Absalom had mobilized the entire army of Israel in the pursuit of his father. Even with thousands set against him, David stated that he laid down and slept, with nary a worry, for he believed that the God he served was watching over him. He was unafraid, and he did not fret over how big the problem seemed.
This is a lesson for everyone, for when troubles come, bringing with them worry and anxious thoughts, sleep becomes difficult to achieve. We walk the floors all night, and as the daylight filters through the curtains, we know we are in for a rough day, for without sleep, nothing in the body seems to work right. But, if we are like David, assured that God is with us and would never forsake us or abandon us in our trials, then we can lay down in our bed, praise God for His wondrous deeds of the past, and sleep knowing that He controls all things. It does not help us to lie awake worrying, after we take it to the Lord in prayer.
Psalm 3:7-8 Arise, O Lord! Rescue me, my God! Slap all my enemies in the face! Shatter the teeth of the wicked! Victory comes from you, O Lord. May you bless your people.
David’s prayer was for rescue and for the utter defeat of his enemies. David understood that only God could bring him victory in the situation, for God blesses His people with victory over their situations. The story of David and Absalom is found in 2 Samuel 15-19, with Absalom killed and David restored to his throne. The good news is that prayer still works, and when we utilize it in the night hours, sleep comes because we are assured that indeed “all things work for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Dear Father in a Heaven,
Thank you for sleep in the midnight hour when it seems like all hope is gone. I will lie down, remembering that my help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth. I will remind myself that You neither slumber nor sleep, so I can do both, leaving my trials and troubles in Your mighty hands. Victory comes from you alone. I cannot change a thing by worrying all night long, so I give the burden to You, my God, who has never failed me. Thank you for Jesus and forgive me my sins, O God my Father. In Jesus’s holy name, Amen.