Pay attention to the tension in your body. Let go of it and any expectations to do anything other than God’s will today. Prepare yourself to hear God’s word.
Psalm 4 (NRSV)
Answer me when I call, O God of my right!
You gave me room when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer.
How long, you people, shall my honor suffer shame?
How long will you love vain words, and seek after lies? Selah
But know that the LORD has set apart the faithful for himself;
the LORD hears when I call to him.
When you are disturbed, do not sin;
ponder it on your beds, and be silent. Selah
Offer right sacrifices,
and put your trust in the LORD.
There are many who say, “O that we might see some good!
Let the light of your face shine on us, O LORD!”
You have put gladness in my heart
more than when their grain and wine abound.
I will both lie down and sleep in peace;
for you alone, O LORD, make me lie down in safety.
Most folks know the exasperation of a sleepless night. It can be due to illness—one’s own or that of a loved one. A red-eye travel itinerary, causing us to get up super early to be at the airport. A night in a motel on the road. A colicky baby. Anxiety about the next day’s responsibilities. A disturbing call late at night. Or a guilty conscience. Scientists aren’t certain what sleep does for us, but we know the effects of doing without it! Recent reports indicate a growing health concern related to loss of sleep because we’re always “plugged in” to the workplace or other distractions.
Psalm 4 has an interesting verse in this regard. “When you are disturbed, do not sin; ponder it on your beds and be silent.” A footnote indicates that the word disturbed could also be translated “angry.” That calls to mind another thought from the pen of St. Paul: “Be angry but do not sin” (Ephesians 4:26a). Unresolved anger can cause restlessness at night.
Youngsters used to be tucked into bed with the little prayer, “Now I lay me down to sleep.” Adults need reassurance occasionally, too. This psalm provides that: “I will both lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety.”
Thank you, Lord, for the night’s rest and the blessing of a new day. Amen.
Go with God.