I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. (Psalms 4:8 NKJV)
She was awake, it was 1 AM and she had begun to fuss. She wasn’t hungry and there were no signs of discomfort, she was just awake. As I took her up in my arms and gently rocked her back and forth I was transported to another place, another time and I was the infant being cradled in loving arms.
It was my senior year at college. That time in life when you future is just on the horizon and a world of opportunity is what lies ahead. When the days are brighter and the dreams are sweeter. For me it was dark and bitter.
It was more than the darkness of the night, it was the darkness of my soul. The darkness held my fears, held my doubts and held my shame. I would lie awake at night unable to sleep, tossing and turning, tormented by the void in my soul, the weight of my guilt and the bleak outlook for my future. Sleep would elude me, my enemy was my own sin and shame, and turmoil filled my mind with despair,
Sleepless nights became weeks and then months, after counting every sheep, cow or duck I could find, I was done. What hope could there be for my future if I couldn’t function in a day.
One of those sleepless nights I dug deep and pulled out a last resort, two prayers I remembered from my childhood, “The Lord’s Prayer” and “Now I lay me down to sleep”. I began to gently whisper those prayers and soon found myself in peaceful slumber. Waking up the next morning, I really didn’t know what had caused me to sleep, I was just grateful I had. The next night, another sleepless night, once again counting sheep and unable to grab a few zzzz’s, I finally remembered to whisper a prayer, sleep came before it was over. For months I prayed, “Now I lay me down to sleep…” For months I would whisper in the night, “Our Father, who art in Heaven…” and a gentle peace would draw me into sleeps sweet embrace.
Those prayers were the catalyst for me to seek The Lord and find Jesus, those prayers became a stone path leading me to the foot of the cross. It was those nightly prayers, two simple prayers, nothing added, nothing taken away, that drew me to the Savior.
I graduated college in May of 1988, on June 2nd of that same year I finally surrendered it all. The peace that would draw me into a gentle sleep each night, was now the peace I had each and every day. The heaviness of my sin was no longer a weight I was carrying, the guilt and shame no longer tormented me in the night, I choose to receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior and my life would never be the same.
Tonight, as I held Ana, I was taken back to that sweet embrace of the Father. A wayward, sleep and peace deprived child He would lovingly nestle against His chest offering me the one thing I thought I needed most, sleep. The reality was He knew I needed something even more, I needed Him. I needed Jesus!
Occasionally, I will have another sleepless night, a sick child, a heavy burden, an event that tries to implant some lies. When those times come, I pull out those two simple prayers, lay my head against my Father’s chest and receive His embrace of peace as it cocoons me and sleep.
Her eyelashes fluttered against my skin, her breath warm and soft, her fingers wrapped around my finger, there is no place I would rather be. How great is the Father’s love for us, because I know, there is no place He would rather be.
When you lie down, you will not be afraid; Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet. (Proverbs 3:24 NKJV)