REST – GET IT WHERE YOU CAN!

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!

Child fell asleep waiting for lunch!
Child fell asleep waiting for lunch!

 

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!

Swinging and bouncing can be exhausting!
Swinging and bouncing can be exhausting!

Think about being asleep with all sorts of commotion going on around you.

Asleep sitting up!
Asleep sitting up!

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.

 

Sleeping newborn.
Sleeping newborn.

 

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.

Grandfather and infant grandson resting together!
Grandfather and infant grandson resting together!

 

 

Grandmother holding sleeping grandson.
Grandmother holding sleeping grandson.

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?

MORNING AND NIGHT – TOGETHER!

Have you ever noticed how people are different? Of course I know there are gazillions of differences between people. But, consider a very mundane, but personally relevant, distinction – Morning People and Night People. I have conducted a non‐scientific survey of many couples who are paired together in marriage even though they fall on the opposite ends of what I will call the “clock spectrum”. In other words, it seems that often Morning People are married to Night People and that these marriages are successful despite this fundamental difference between the partners.

Sunlight coming through trees
Sunlight coming through trees

Case in point: My Beloved Husband (a Morning Person) and Me (a Night Person). My Husband will arise no later than 6:30 a.m. whether he needs to do so just because it is the morning and that is when you should get up! He LOVES the sunrise – He loves to stand on the porch, listen to the birds awaken and then hear them serenade the sun as it comes up over the trees while he drinks his cup of coffee that he brewed before the sun lit the way to the coffee pot!   I don’t know what all he does between when he gets up and when he wakes me up just before he leaves the house … I’m asleep! By the time I am aware of anything, he has been up for hours.

Getting up that early is simply foreign to me. I can get up early if I have a meeting in the morning; in fact  I am more than capable of getting up at 6:30 a.m., washing, dressing, getting papers together, doing the breakfast thing, and getting out the door to get to the meeting, even with time to spare. I certainly won’t like it, but I can do it. But, if there is no deadline staring at me, I would be content to continue resting until …. Well, we really don’t need to state an actual time; suffice it to say that it would be past 6:30 a.m., that’s for sure.

Moon rising over still lake.
Moon rising over still lake.

At the other end of the “clock spectrum”, I love looking at the moon and the night sky. When we are camping, I can sit outside with a cup of decaf and look to the heavens watching the stars for hours … Night, now that’s my time of day.

How that plays out on a day‐to‐day basis in our home, for example, is something like this. We will be watching television and my husband will have fallen asleep in the recliner about 10:00 p.m. I, on the other hand will be knitting or reading recipes while watching the 11:00 p.m. news. When the news is over, I will get him to bed and then do some work on the computer, or read, or continue knitting, or do whatever else is beckoning, but it will be at least midnight and more likely 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. before I am ready to sleep.

We have tried to “normalize” our time schedules by my awaking at 7:30 and his “sleeping in” to 7:30 but it doesn’t change anything at the end of the day. He is still asleep in the recliner at 10:00 p.m. and I am still awake at 12:00 a.m.

Clock face
Clock face

Simply put, he is a Morning Person and I am a Night Person – there is no way around it. He explains that he had a paper route when he was a child so he had to get up early. I don’t have any other explanation, but his paper route was over 50 years ago … I don’t buy it!

Interestingly, we are not the only ones. I have spoken to many others and more people than not tell me that they, too, are involved in “mixed marriages” – night and morning people are united in the holy bonds of matrimony! We are like this for some other reason.

Is this an example of God’s sense of humor?  Perhaps.

In fact, I have made that comment in the past. But upon reflection and leadership of the Spirit, I expect God is doing something much more important here.

What if this is God’s way of providing each marriage partner some “sacred time” – a time when they can focus on being with God while not taking away time from their partner?   Wouldn’t it be just like God to, in His sovereign grace, give us a partner who checks out physically at a time when we are still awake, or who remains asleep when we awaken, so that we can have time to meditate and “be still and know” that He is God, even while we hear the steady, comforting breathing of the one God has given to us as our mate?

Antique clock face
Antique clock face

Whether it is in the morning or at night, if your spouse is asleep and you are awake, why not spend that “alone” time with your Lord? After all, He is the Bridegroom Who has given His Life for you and Who has an everlasting Love for you. Perhaps His plan in uniting you with your opposite Morning/Night Person was to create some free time in your schedule so you could spend quality time with the Creator of the Universe. If He created the opportunity for this appointment with you, don’t waste it!

Cherish it and let Him fill your Soul, Beloved.

[If you want to “take part” in my non-scientific survey, let me know in a comment whether you are a Night or Morning person … and, if you are married, whether your spouse is the same or different!  If you just agree with the thoughts, hit the Like button and there is no need for further comment!  Remember, it really makes no difference because we are all loved by our Savior and He created us to be as we are! Thanks.]