According to recent studies, anywhere from forty to sixty million Americans suffer from insomnia. They can’t sleep.
How about you? Do you struggle to fall asleep? Do you wake up in the middle of the night unable to go back to sleep?
The causes of insomnia are many. Some are physical. Too much caffeine, using your computer or watching TV before going to bed can keep you up. Some illnesses affect our ability to sleep. Even our age affects our sleep patterns.
Many of the people I know who have trouble sleeping tell me it is because they have a hard time turning off their minds. The problems of today and the challenges of tomorrow roll around in their heads and keep them from drifting to sleep.
For others it’s guilt. Regret over ugly words said yesterday or a mistake made years ago creep into their thoughts as they lay in the quiet of the night.
Fear is another sleep killer. For some reason, as we lay in our beds, our minds often drift to our own mortality. Many people are afraid to close their eyes at night for fear they won’t open them again.
Do you have a hard time turning your mind off at night? God can help. His promises help us deal with many of the worries and fears which keep us awake at night.
Do guilt and regret tie your stomach in knots? No matter how many hours you stay awake fretting over what you said and did, you can’t go back and change it. You can, however, find comfort in God’s forgiveness. No matter how bad you messed up, Jesus already suffered the punishment for it on the cross. God’s forgiveness knows no end. God has let it go. So can you.
And because of the forgiveness Jesus won for us, God promises us a home with him forever in heaven. Death is not the end. It is merely a door through which we pass on our way to the happiness of heaven.
When I was a boy, my parents taught me to pray every night: “Now I lay me down to sleep; I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” What a comfort! If I don’t open my eyes again here on earth, because of Jesus I can be sure I will open them to the glories of heaven.
And, if Jesus suffered our hell in our place, if he won for us a home in heaven when we die, then we can also be sure he will make everything else in our lives works for our good (Romans 8:28-32). You don’t have to worry about tomorrow. God is in control. Let go and let God.
Do you have a hard time turning off your mind at night? As you lie in bed, take your regrets, fears and worries to God in prayer. Remember his promises of forgiveness and heaven. Remember his presence and protection in your life. If nothing else, open your Bible and read for a while from the book of Psalms.
With God’s help, you will soon be able to close your eyes and say with the Psalmist, “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8).