I have trouble sleeping hence the reason I’m up at 4am-ish. Maybe it’s because of my sleep apnea? Maybe it’s because of my unsuccessful ability to turn off my mind most nights? Maybe I’m just one of those people who don’t require much sleep? I’ve heard stories about people who wake up at strange hours and begin praying for someone specifically in another country (usually a missionary) and it turns out that person (usually a missionary) was in a life-threatening situation requiring prayer. I’m not sure who I should be praying for right now since I have dozens of missionary friends in other countries. What if I pick the wrong person? That’s a lot of pressure and will keep me up for hours thinking about it.
So, in my sleepless state, sometimes I will lay in bed and think. Other times I will try to read hoping that will make me sleepy. Occasionally, I will just lie there in the darkness and try to do things that are supposed to make you sleepy. Counting sheep does not work, by the way. Tonight, I decided to get up and write.
On my way to the kitchen (Did I mention sometimes I snack?) I decided to check on the kids sleeping soundly in their beds. When I last left my six-year-old (7 hours ago) I was kneeling by his bedside, tucking him in with our routine of prayers, snuggles and songs (See “The bedtime routine” for more about that). Just as I walked over towards him, he was struggling with one of his blankets. Apparently he was cold and needed more covers. Without a word, I helped him. Somehow, he sensed “help” and looked up to see me and said with surprise in his voice,
“Daddy, you’re still here?”
“Yea, son, I’m still here – just watching you sleep.” He smiled and was out cold.
I liked the thought of him thinking that I had not moved. Yep, for 7 straight hours I simply stood there, at attention, waiting for the moment when he needed more covers. That is why I am Dad of the Year, in my head. What a glorious parenting fluke that I happened to be there for his brief need.
Instantly, I thought of Psalm 121, particularly verses 3 & 4. Hands down, it has been my mantra the last three years. It is my “go-to” verse when I need some encouragement.
“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, He who keeps Israel Will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun will not smite you by day, Nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul.
8 The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever.”
God never slumbers. God never sleeps. In fact, when I wake up in my sleepless state, He’s looking down with His all-encompassing presence saying, “I’m still here.” Normally, I would say that someone watching you sleep is creepy. Unless you’re a parent. There is something beautiful about watching your child sleep. Interestingly, tonight, soon after Andrew fell asleep, I snapped this picture. “Awww” is the appropriate response.
I’m not sure what’s going on in your life, but God is “still there.” Whether you need another blanket or your needs are far more serious than that, God is there to “cover you” as needed. The Maker of Heaven and Earth is “still here” to help you “make it”. The Keeper of Israel keeps watch over you as well. While He manages the Universe, He somehow manages to not leave your side – even while you sleep. As the Psalmist reminds us, He can protect from evil, guard your movements and keep your soul. Only a “still here” Father can do that. His “still here” is not a glorious parenting fluke. He literally never leaves you, morning or night. In the midst of our extremely lonely world, we have a 24/7 God.
The current events of our world do not distract Him from His children. Your daily troubles are no trouble for Him. What is a BIG concern to you is of no concern to Him. Though we tend to worry about everything, God worries about nothing. Literally nothing. What looks like a Giant to us reminds Him of a grain of sand. If He can govern the Sun and navigate a moon, surely He can help us in our time of need. He is simultaneously our “refuge and strength, ready to help when we need Him.” (Psalm 46:1).
It is for this reason that Peter tells us to “cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.” (I Peter 5:7) Jesus reminds us, “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” (Matthew 6)
I’m not sure what woke up me tonight. In the middle of my stressful life, maybe I just needed a reminder that He’s still awake. He’s not falling asleep on the job. Whatever was on my mind, it’s on His mind too. He’ll take care of it, in His time. My goal is simply to do the right thing and trust Him.
He’s still here. He’ll provide the blanket. For me and for you.