When was the last time you had a really good night’s sleep?
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I just had one the other night, but they are (sadly) few and very far between. I have a good mattress, and being next to my wife, the love of my life, is also very helpful in feeling happy, relaxed, and loved. But, still and all, I am more often than not restless, with either bad or (let’s call them) uncomfortable dreams. The kind where you figure, “I know it’s only four in the morning, but I might as well get up.”
I figured this was all just a part of life, you know…they say as you get older you need less sleep, or maybe there’s something in the back of my mind worrying me; and I know I shouldn’t review old memories that are still bothersome, but they always keep me awake. You know what I mean, don’t you? The kind of life experiences where you were mistreated or misjudged and you wish you could go back and give that idiot a piece of your mind.
But recently it all became clear to me why I usually don’t have a good night’s rest, and that was when I was read Ecclesiastes (Kohelet) the other day and came to Chapter 5, verse 2 which says:
For nightmares come from worrying too much; …
Then I began to think of all the other Bible verses that talk about having a good night’s rest, such as Psalm 3:6-7:
I lie down and sleep, then wake up again, because Adonai sustains me. I am not afraid of the tens of thousands set against me on every side.
and Matthew 11:28, which many will be familiar with and says:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
and another well-known verse, Psalm 91:5:
You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,…
I realized that my lack of sleep is not caused by anything physical, but by something spiritual- my lack of faith.
I have not faithfully trusted in God and accepted that vengeance is his, and his alone, so I review things that have hurt me over the years and want to just “tell that person off”, but it’s not my place to do so. I have talked often about forgiveness and how it is the only way to stop the pain, yet here I am, not practicing what I preach.
I don’t think I am a hypocrite; what I am is a human being, with the same weaknesses as any other human being, and even though I know what I am supposed to do, I am having trouble doing it. Shaul (Paul) confesses in Romans 7:14-25 that he does what he hates and doesn’t do what he wants to do, so I guess I am in pretty good company when I say I have the same problem.
The Bible tells me that if I am more faithful then I will sleep better, and I do not doubt that for a moment. The problem is this: to figure out how to be more faithful. Oy!
I wish there was a “faithfulness pill” I could take, but that doesn’t exist. I read the Bible daily, I know, ABSOLUTELY, that God exists and that Yeshua is the Messiah, and I also know and remember the many miraculous events in my life and blessings that God has given me, which are more than I could ever count. I also know and trust completely that he has more good things for me in the future. So with all this knowledge and trust, and faith, why am I still having trouble getting a good night’s rest?
I am sorry to say the answer is obvious- I need to be more. I need to be more faithful, I need to trust deeper and more completely, and I need to keep working at really forgiving those who have damaged and hurt me over the years, to the point where it is totally given up to Adonai to handle, and I wash my hands of it, completely.
That’s the answer to getting a good night’s sleep; at least, the answer for me. I confess I will have trouble doing this, but who wouldn’t? In reality, even the most faithful are still only human, and we all have to battle against the iniquity we are born with. It is an uphill battle that will never stop, not until we have shed this mantle of flesh and taken on a robe of righteousness in the spiritual world.
Maybe that’s the answer! I have to stop looking to the past and instead focus on the future. I wrote a message once called “S.W.I.S.H.”, which stands for: So What, I‘m Saved –Halleluyah! Looks like I need to go back and re-read my own message! That’s another problem I have to work on- practicing what I preach.
To be fair, that’s something everyone needs to work on.
So, nu? I have come to the answer, which confirms the title of this message: if I want to be worry-free, I need to be more faithful. And the way to become more faithful is to count my blessings every day, completely forget the bad things in my past and only remember how God has helped me. I need to keep reading the Bible to know all the different ways God has saved his people and those that trust in him and look toward the future knowing that God will always be there for me and when this life is done, I will be in his presence, completely rested and at peace for all eternity.
Yeah, that’s the ticket!
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Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!