I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.
Restless nights. Tossing and turning. Wishing for relief from many things. I’ve read and used this verse many times and it wasn’t until recently that I noticed that it used the word “both.” I have come to know in the past couple of years that going to bed and sleeping aren’t necessarily the same thing. I lay down and within minutes my husband is snoring and feeling the sweet relief from the day. I, however, am tossing and turning, first on my back, then to the side for a moment. Within a few minutes it’s on over to my stomach just to give that a try. His snoring gets louder and I get more frustrated that someone rests that easily.
I have found that most of the time it is my brain that will not let me go to that restful place. Oh sure, there are the sweats and the heat that plaque me while my husband shivers under two blankets. I kick and throw off the one covering my feet while adjusting the two fans to blow harder. I think I could manage the heat if I could only make my unconscious ramblings cease. The most uncomfortable place is between awake and asleep. You are not really awake and conscious so that you are actually making any sane decisions or any real quality progress on whatever is occupying your thoughts but neither are you asleep so that you are getting real deep replenishing. On those occasions when I finally make myself escape that chasm of the in-between, I remember the one thing that always seems to help. Prayer.
In those moments when I am finally conscious enough to think, I know that my only true help comes from God. My thoughts may escape my grasp and ability to control but when I rearrange my focus to the goodness and security of God, I can rest easy. Many times I begin to pray and such peace invades me that within moments of thanking God for all He is and all He does for me I am sound asleep. Just a couple of verses before, David says “Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still.” Our days are filled with invaders of all types. People who would steal your joy. Events that would undermine your peace. God meant for us to have peace and rest in Him. Our heart may find rest in Him as we meditate on who He is and all He has done to give us that peace.
“Be still.” In almost all cases in scripture this word speaks to our hearts and minds not our bodies. I can lie down in my bed at night intending to get rest and sleep but it is not until I still my heart and my mind that true rest comes. God is our security. Ultimately He is in control and trusting that allows us to let go and get the rest He desires for us. It allows us to be still and sleep. I like the fact that my Bible titles this Psalm an “Evening Prayer of Trust in God.” Can we trust Him? Even in the dark? Even when we are unconscious? Rest easy. Commit your thoughts and desires to God in prayer and then enjoy the sweet sleep of trust.