As Anton Ego put it in the movie Ratatouille, "... you know what I'm craving? A little perspective. That's it. I'd like some fresh, clear, well seasoned perspective. Can you suggest a good wine to go with that?"
Sunday, March 3, 2013
iPray eVotionals exhorts those who pray. It's the glass of water held out around each month's turn for the runners who can use a quick and easy quench in order to finish strong.
(Approximate reading time: 7 Minutes)
It's sort of an oxymoron for me to be writing about rest. If, in the evenings, I fall asleep within a little pocket of time then I could be good for most of the night. If not, then I literally watch my sleepy time slip away and the sun come up. That's right, I battle with insomnia.
During sleepless nights I sometimes pray and ask God why, when it seems to me that there is no reason for it, sleep evades me?
When I ask that question I'm prepared for an answer that tells me about keeping a schedule, eating right, exercising or living a healthy lifestyle. I could also accept an acknowledgment that my mind tends to run wild at the exact moment I want to rest; working out the details of the projects I'm currently working on.
What I'm not prepared for is the answer I recently got. Because of it, this sometimes sleepless girl has a word of encouragement for you. It starts with this statement: Ask and you shall receive.
Rest and Sleep
"Why can't I sleep!?!?"
Psalm 62:1 & 2 explains rest as an assurance, "My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken." I want to believe that I do rest in the Lord and it has nothing to do with sleeplessness.
Enter King David.
Can you fall asleep when you are concerned about something happening in your life? It can be extremely difficult to rest well when life's pressures come in hard or during times of trouble. Think about curling up and falling into a deep sleep while at the same time you were being pursued by an army of men attempting to kill you. King David had every reason in the physical world to experience sleepless nights. His son Absalom had organized a rebellion against him and wanted to see him dead.
According to Psalm 3:6, there were tens of thousands drawn up against him on every side...and yet he slept. "I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me." Psalm 3:5
David cried out to God and trusted Him for protection. The Lord heard him and answered, allowing him to slumber safely.
The prideful part of me wants to resist the truth that there is sort of connection between being "rest assured" and falling asleep. I am very assured in my God; I know a lot about His salvation, comfort, authority and his ability to be in control. I cry out to him all the time! I know that my ability to sleep is a separate issue all together. Right?
Time to be humbled with the help of this year's cold and flu season.
iRest in my Knowledge
Floating Viruses have had their way with me this cold and flu season, because of it I have been humbled big time. There has always been an inner pride of mine of my ability to dodge the Virus bullet. My positive outlook, vitamins and wellness techniques can redirect anything coming my way. When I feel a little something coming on it rarely, if ever, comes to full fruition in my body and in my life! I haven't made a practice of proclaiming this self-pride, but God knows my deepest thoughts. He knows what pops into my head before it makes the pop!
I start to feel it in my ears,
Bioflavonoids, my dear.
My throat gets scratchy,
Vitamin and herbs to matchy.
Pain in the bum,
Gimme some Tums.
Start it before it starts,
Neurological wellness charts.
Something keeping me up,
Alka-Seltzer Plus in a cup.
Juggling tons of crap,
Keep it up with an app.
I feel a sharp pain,
Tylenol will sustain.
Nose wants to run,
Will it to be done.
Cough cough cough,
Grab cough drops.
Is that low blood sugar I feel?
A banana until the next meal.
Body getting weak,
An hour of extra sleep.
Kids feel ill,
Killing the germs I hope,
Sanitize, Lysol, Clorox and soap.
See others are sick,
Stay away and offer a fix.
When all else fails to work,
I realize I'm a big jerk.
As I rest in these things,
I replace my mighty King.
Better when I first pray,
The other stuff just aids.
I stop, as a knowledge hoard!
Because God, you are Lord!
None of these things are bad. It's where I place my hope that's bad. When my heart places hope in wellness knowledge over my God I am replacing Him as first in my life. It's a struggle I hate to admit, but I must face it because no doubt this fault is not isolated to health issues. It spurs out onto other parts of my life. I rely on my knowledge in marriage, raising kids, praying and so much more when really it's out of my control like it was for Job in the Bible.
Being knowledgeable about things is not wrong, but none of it is worthy of my deepest hope and trust. I can know everything there is about sky diving, but when a parachute fails, it fails. The only thing sufficient to give me the right sort of relief is resting in my God and my King as Lord over my life and my household.
My downfall revealed! Am I "rest assured" in other things, like my personal know-how and the need to control my hours with that know-how, more than I am in my God? How quick am I to cry out to the Lord in the big things as well as the little things?
I am asking God to rescue me from my sleepless nights. He is asking me to make Him first in everything. There is a connection that I can no longer pretend to ignore.
"The Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, powerful, and awe-inspiring God. He never plays favorites and never takes a bribe."
Hope in God Alone
"Sing praises to God, sing praises!
Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
For God is the King of all the earth;
sing praises with a psalm!"
Psalm 47:6 & 7
The prideful Michelle says, "I praise God all the time and always go to him first. I keep the Sabbath!"
The humbled Michelle says, "I am faulty. I struggle with letting go and putting my trust and hope in God at such a level that I can lie down and sleep the way King David did.
Guess what, it physically hurts to be humbled. After having pride pruned, it's time to stop and rest. Take a break, a breather. Calm down... in my spirit and in my heart. Clearing my mind of all things except one. Hope in One God! Praising Him and Him alone for being Lord over all.
The word "hope" often has a wavering or uncertain sound. For example, one might hope to go on vacation or to get a job done right. The word "hope" in the Bible does not leave room for doubt. When disaster came to Job, he only looked to God as Lord over it all. He couldn't even find complete comfort and vision from his closest friends. As prophets continued to reveal more of God's plan, the shape of the hoped-for future became ever so clear. The Lord's commitment to His people, His faithfulness to His promises and His unfailing trustworthiness came to fruition in Christ Jesus. Psalm 71:14 puts it this way, "But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more."
Hope in God should never leave room for doubt. He works our present transformation in everything, even in insomnia, if we are willing to accept the answers. Hoping in Him means that we never need to be overcome by disappointment and uncertain circumstances. God is faithful and in control, when we believe this in every way it brings true rest of not only our heart, soul and mind... but should also supernaturally manifest in our physical body here and now.
Beyond the here and now, His future return will bring both the resurrection of the body and full expression of eternal glory in Heaven. No room for doubt!
It's not about me sleeping! It's about God, whose love for us cannot be measured. It's about giving Him our praise and thanksgiving no matter what; respecting in awe the One who remains faithful.
In what ways do you need to pause before the Lord and be real? Is there an area where you long for God's protection or provision so you can rest? Is your hope in God giving you peace in all areas of your live? Like David, are you willing to cry out to the Lord and trust Him in an even deeper way so you can lie down in peace?
iPray... That you are able to ask and humbly accept the answers you are not prepared for.
iPray... That your knowledge in Christ Jesus will far out way any other knowledge you have gained here on earth.
iPray... That you will pour out your heart before Him and let the assurance of answered prayer strengthen and encourage you and bring you peace.
iPray... That you will be able to lie down and sleep in peace for God alone is your safety. (From Psalm 4:8)
iPray... That God's Spirit will go with you, and give you rest. (From Exodus 33:14)
iPray... For you my dear sibling in Christ Jesus, that God will be your everything!