If you are somewhere close to my age, you may remember the movie “American Graffiti.” One of the songs, sung by Bobby Lewis, was “Tossing and Turning.” The singer laments that “I couldn’t sleep at all last night. I was tossing and turning, turning and tossing all night. “I kicked the blankets on the floor…turned my pillow upside down…hear the clock downstairs striking four…it was the middle of the night.”
That song well describes those nights when we seem to wake up every hour with our mind still tracking with the thoughts from the past hour.
Charles Peguy wrote about God’s gift of sleep.
God says, “Sleep is the friend of humans. Sleep is the friend of God. Sleep is perhaps the most beautiful thing I have ever created. And I myself rested on the seventh day.”
I like that line, “Sleep is perhaps the most beautiful thing I have ever created.”
Think about it. While Adam slept God created a woman, Eve. When Adam woke up God presented her to the man all indications are that Adam was mightily pleased with the form God had formed.
King David knew the blessing of sleep. David says in Psalm 3:5, “I lie down and sleep I wake up again because the Lord continues to support me.” David said this at a time when he was fleeing his son Absalom. Absalom had undercut David and turned the people against him. David fled into the wilderness area, where years before he had been on the run from Saul. Now people were saying that even with God on his side he won’t win this time. But in V. 3, he isn’t afraid, “But you, O Lord, are shield that surrounds me. You are my glory. You hold my head high.”
A prayer from the order of compline is worth remembering, “Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping that awake we may watch with Christ and asleep. We may rest in peace.”