Sleep in Earthly Peace

I’m not prone to insomnia, but every so often it pays a visit. Usually I know why – a loved one in trouble, an upcoming event, anxiety over a difficult problem or project, conflict with someone I love. The times I’ve been awake for reasons unknown are in the single digits – a blessing I don’t give thanks for nearly enough. In those sleepless hours, I have mulled over things done and left undone, rehearsed imaginary dialogues and explanations, and strained to see what the intentions of others might have in store for the world in general and me in specific. I can’t say any of it helped. My eyelids didn’t close. Losing sleep only made whatever caused it worse.

No one person can predict or control what happens in this uncertain world. The good, bad, and indifferent among us all have the means to create a better world or destroy a beloved part of it. I can’t control the actions of others, yet I will live with the consequences. So will everyone else. It’s not exactly a reassuring truth, is it? How can I fall asleep every night in such a reality?

There are two truths that help me. The first, my grandmother taught me: get up, do your best every day, and don’t worry about what is beyond that.  In Biblical terms: don’t worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:34) The second: whatever happens, God won’t lose track of me or anyone else.  

With such truths in hand, its time for bed…

I will both lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety. Psalm 4:8

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I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

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