You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:7-8
For most of us, we long for a good night sleep is something. In this loud world we live in, the noise seems to reach its pitch when we lay down to fall asleep. It is as though the moment our heads hit the cool pillow our brain goes into overdrive. The thoughts range from the stresses of the day, the potential stresses of the future, or even the moment of stress you experienced in 6th grade. Typically, when these thoughts flood our mind we turn to our phones, or some other form of escape. Yet, it is ironic the one time we get to rest our brain is when we are finally quiet enough to hear all of the mess in it.
This begs for us to try to understand how to experience what the psalmist experiences: "In peace I will both lie down and sleep..." As always, the answer can be found in context. The verse before this reveals something about the psalmist's view of God. He says God has put more joy in his heart than others when they have their grain and their wine abounding.
It is fair to say when a farmer has a plentiful crop, they have some joy. It is also fair to say when a winemaker is abounding in their sales, they are joyful as well. The reason they have joy should be clear, they are thriving in their livelihood. There is some truth to this reality. When we are thriving in life, stress seems to be a bit more absent. We tend to sleep a little better at night when we feel as though we do not have to be concerned about bills, health, or anything else. The risk we take in this approach is we create an unstable foundation for our lives to be built on.
The psalmist is able to lie down and sleep peacefully because he trusts in God. God has given him a joy which is built upon the Lord and not the inconsistencies of life. When our joy and peace are built upon the thriving moments of life we will eventually come crashing down. We will go from sleeping well to tossing and turning through the night.
It is never an easy task to trust the Lord with everything. It is our habit to keep stress with clenched fists and get every bit of it. We are not meant to live like this. We cannot thrive when we hold onto the stuff which weighs us down. If you are not able to lie down and sleep in peace it is probably because there is something you are holding onto to keep you from peace.
We do not have to act as though letting go of stress is easy. The tension we run into is we love to solve our own problems. Our pride does not want us to let go of our stress because we believe we are more than able, but I think the sleepless nights tell us otherwise.
The game changer we can do every day is to set our eyes on the Lord. The only way we get to a place where we see the Lord as our joy is when we are constantly looking at Him. The reason we lay down restlessly is because we do not choose to look to the Lord but rather our stresses. Looking to the Lord constantly is how we lay down in peace. The practice of looking to the Lord was one Jesus adopted and lived out every single day.
Jesus went into every situation, temptation, conversation, and event with His eyes focused on God. He knew the stresses of life could not weigh Him down when He was focused on His prize. The same is true for us. When we lean into the reality of Jesus being, “the founder and perfecter of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:2), stresses seem to shrink. They do not go away, but they lose their intimidation when put up against our Savior.
When we can focus on God’s sovereignty we can certainly lie down and sleep in peace. His sovereignty reminds us He has it all taken care of and that is something that should ease our minds.
What are some of the thoughts that flood your mind when you lay down for bed? Are they good or bad? Write them down.
What is your initial response to these thoughts? Do they put you at ease, or do they lead to restlessness?
How can you give these thoughts to God and surrender them to Him?
Father, thank You for being the reason I can lie down and sleep in peace. I am grateful You have given me the blessing of rest, and for calling us to live a life which requires rest. I pray I would learn to engage with my thoughts and to surrender them to Your sovereignty. You truly give more joy than anything else in this life! I love You Father, and pray these things in Your name, amen.
PC3 writer Davy Nance wrote today’s devotional.