We were out to eat last weekend when a family passed us on their way to the restaurant table … a young child was asleep on his Daddy’s shoulder. What caught my attention was this sleeping child’s hand that was hanging over the man’s arm – the child was so sound asleep, his hand was absolutely limp so that it waved and wobbled with each step the man took.
Think about the last time you have really watched a child sleep. They seem to be able to sleep almost anywhere, with no trouble. Asleep at the porch table … I guess the food was not brought fast enough!
Then again, swinging and bouncing can sometimes lead to a tired child; touching the carpet with your tip‐toes can be hard for a little guy!
Think about being asleep with all sorts of commotion going on around you.
We have all seen little ones who are asleep in the car seat or carrier. A common sight often as infants are being carried through the store, swinging on Mom’s arm.
When we see these little ones we want to pray for their future, that they would know the Lord and for all the dreams, hopes and aspirations that come with new life.
Then there is the sleep of a child in the arms of one who loves him/her. We love the times that our children and grandchildren have climbed up into waiting arms and cuddled, secure in the embrace of a parent/grandparent who loves them, who will defend them, and care for them even when they are asleep and dreaming their wonderful infant dreams.
While we know that sleep is mandatory, that it is something that we must have for us to be healthy, often we adults simply do not get enough of it. Unfortunately, the pace of our world with jobs, housework, family, church, social obligations and who knows what else [you fill in the blank], creates such a frenetic atmosphere that we as adults simply cannot rest, relax … or sleep.
But sleep does not elude us just because of our calendars. Sometimes we have physical issues such as pain from an injury or surgery. Then too there are the psychological, emotional and spiritual issues that claim our night hours. It might be that we have worries about finances or health of ourselves, family or friends. There could be concern about employment security, about financing retirement, or about obtaining that first job in a market where jobs are truly scarce. Perhaps it is concern about words spoken that should not have been; deeds that we knew should be done but which were not; attitudes that colored our views of people and conversations which were unkind, at best. And aging, for some reason, seems to rob us of sleep so that it is harder to fall and stay asleep than it was years earlier.
Just as we cuddle our grandchildren, Scripture teaches that God longs for us to come to Him with outstretched arms.
God says in Isaiah 49:15 [NIV]:
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! “
Again, in Isaiah 66:13 [NIV], the Prophet records God as saying:
“As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.”
David knew of this longing. Psalm 139 is an incredibly beautiful song talking of God’s love and His care for His children. I urge you to read the entire Psalm, but verses 8 through 10 [ESV] describe the omnipresence of God’s love and care:
If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
Hundreds of years after Psalm 139 was written, Jesus said:
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 [ESV]
As Christians, the closeness that we have with God is described by Paul in Romans 8:15:
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” [ESV]
Where can you get rest? Ultimately, true rest is only through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who has, through His death and resurrection, secured our ability to call out to God, “Abba Father”.
Believe in Him, then rest in Him, Beloved. He will hold you through all your difficulties, and He will never let you go!
So, where do you find your rest?