Sleepless Nights


Psa. 16:7    I bless the LORD who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
8 I keep the LORD always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.


One can only imagine that David had plenty of sleepless nights, especially when battling his enemies. Sometimes they were physical enemies and sometimes they were emotional. In the sleepless nights David spent time crying out to God and seeking instruction. It was then that David could face the hard facts of life. Instead of distracting himself, he sought the Lord who brought him counsel. 


There seem to be seasons of life when there are more sleepless nights than others. Difficult decisions and troubling days can leave us awake at night and staring into the darkness. Even anticipation of exciting events can lead us to sleeplessness as we begin to imagine the days which lie ahead. The question is, what we are going to do with those sleepless nights? They can become agonizing, hours of tossing and turning as your mind refuses to turn itself off, or they can become hallowed hours of quiet in which we can hear the soft still voices of heaven. (Spurgeon, Treasury of David) 

In the midst of our turmoil we are invited to keep the face of the LORD always before us. Christ can come to us and teach us in the hours of the night as we pour out our hearts to him in conversation and prayer. Often when spending a prolonged time in prayer sleep will come, and then, during the sleep hours suddenly everything becomes sorted out. Awakening with the dawn there is a new and fresh perspective which could only come from heavenly counsel. 

Years ago I had a conversation with Dr. Ralph Earle, who was then professor of New Testament at Nazarene Theological Seminary. He told me that he often awakened throughout the night and would use those hours to pray. He felt that God was intentionally awakening him to participate in fellowship with God’s mysterious activity here on earth. The older I become, the more I awaken during the night. I am trying to heed the suggestion of Dr. Earle and use those times wisely, joining into holy participation with our Triune God. Keeping the Lord before me, as I seek out God’s heart and direction for prayer. 

Spurgeon reminds us, “Great generals fight their battles in their own mind long before the trumpet sounds, and so did our Lord win our battle on his knees before he gained it on the cross.  It is a gracious habit after taking counsel from above to take counsel within.  Wise men see more with their eyes shut by night than fools can see by day with their eyes open.” Sleepless nights can be a burden, or they can become a blessing. While others sleep, in the silence of the night, we are invited into a sacred place of solitude and holy meditation. There we will find the Lord, at our right hand, holding us firm through the seasons of life. 


Lord, the beauty and graciousness of your presence brings peace. I am grateful.  Amen. 


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