Worry and sleeplessness seem to go hand-in-hand. Just this last week, running through the details a big event coming up left me tossing and turning, and rearranging my pillows in the hope it would bring the rest I needed.
As someone who believes the promise Philippians 4:6-7 has for us — that bringing our anxieties to God will lead to the peace we need, I ended up wondering why I couldn’t quit worrying, and I wasn’t sleeping like a baby in minutes.
Perhaps you’ve been there too. Or maybe you’re struggling to know why God isn’t giving you the relief you need. Is he even listening? Has he stopped caring?
The Bible does not make light of what troubles us, expecting us to shrug off our worries easily. It is not glib in its understanding of life’s difficulties. And when it comes to wondering where God is in the middle of all that’s going on, we discover it’s perfectly normal to question God.
The writer of Psalm 77 was one severely troubled person, who no doubt had bags under his eyes the next morning as evidence of his sleepless nights. He also questioned why God wasn’t coming to his help.
He laid awake at night in distress, his mind tireless:
When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord. All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven, but my soul was not comforted. I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help.Psalm 77:2-3 NLT
This was not a few minutes of sleeplessness but ongoing anguish. And he prayed. Not just once, but constantly, with no relief.
So, in his long sleepless night he doubted God’s love and his care, and wondered if God has forgotten him:
Has the Lord rejected me forever? Will he never again be kind to me? Is his unfailing love gone forever? Have his promises permanently failed? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he slammed the door on his compassion?Psalm 77:7-9 NLT
But then comes the turning point. He refused to slip into despair. Instead, he is determined to remember God’s faithful protection.
Our Lord, I will remember the things you have done, your miracles of long ago. I will think about each one of your mighty deeds.Psalm 77:11 NLT
He turned his mind to God’s provision and care in the past. Not just in a general way, but to each one of your mighty deeds.
What has God done for you in the past? Why not write down a list of specific ways God has come through for you.
Then, next time you’re tossing and turning in the night, think about and thank God for each and every thing he has done for you.
We don’t know if the Psalmist fell asleep, but I’m guessing he did. I hope you do, too.