A blog by Josh Humbert
There are verses from Scripture that can sometimes feel like they are taunting you, right?
For example, Psalm 4:8 says this:
In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety.
That is poetic, beautiful, and true. But…aren’t there nights when it may also be elusive? And I’m talking elusive like Leo’s Oscar, or an honest politician, or a championship for the Cubs, or….well, you get the point. Elusive.
You know those nights, right? That verse sounds great and you believe it…but Worry and Doubt decide to crash at your place. And they plan on keeping you up for a while. Tossing and turning. Staring at the ceiling. Thinking of life’s deeper questions. Wondering just where exactly is God?
The peaceful sleep you want and need is beyond your grasp.
At end of John 1, as Jesus is calling out His disciples, He has a fascinating interaction with Nathanael. The account has many layers (I’ve actually even written about it before from a totally different angle. You can read that here).
Nathanael has been studying the Scriptures (which is why Philip references them when he invites Nathanael to go see Jesus in the first place). Nathanael is a sharp, opinionated young man who has been thinking deeply under his fig tree.
Often, in this time period, the place to go for quiet reflection would be the fig tree. Houses were small and simple. If the family had children, it would easily get crowded and noisy. Outside, under the cool shade of the popular fig trees of that region, one could sit down and rest in quiet moments of thinking.
This is where Nathanael has been searching the Scriptures. This is where Nathanael’s mind has been full of doubts and questions. Wondering just where exactly is God?
To his complete shock, Jesus tells him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”
Nathanael is stunned, shocked, surprised…and also, he is made glad. All those times he sat in quiet desperation, all the hours he spent under the shade with his searches for truth, all the doubts and questions he poured out on the trunk of that fig tree…..ALL of those times, Jesus knew about completely.
And it wasn’t a mere knowledge, no, it was a close, personal intimacy. Jesus SAW him. Jesus heard those cries. None of it fell on deaf ears. None of it was wasted. He was there too.
He was there the whole time.
In our busy lives, sometimes we rarely have moments to stop and ponder the deeper questions of life. It’s not till Worry and Doubt have made your sleep elusive that you may find yourself thinking on what matters most. Or maybe you question the future. Or maybe you are stuck in a regret about the past. Or maybe you’re just wandering where God is.
You may not realize it, but your bed has become your fig tree.
And in my opinion, this can be a good thing. You need to think beyond just the schedule, the kids, the job, the bills, the retirement, the whatever….You need time to get to what truly matters. A fig tree is a good thing.
The good news for you is the same life-changing truth Nathanael found out: Jesus sees you too. When you’re tossing and turning, He sees you. When you’re staring at the ceiling, He sees you. When you are wondering just where God is, He is right beside you.
Jesus is the God who sees you.
He knows your every thought. He hears your every doubt. He is aware of what you’re searching for. He sees you and He loves you most incredibly.
Even when you’re missing out on sleep, knowing this truth can still make you glad too.
Well, you do still need the sleeps, though. God designed us to be unconscious for about 1/3 of our life. No escaping that.
So you can rest in the knowledge that He sees you and loves you.
AND…I’d like to give you another help. To make that truth sink from your head to your heart, I’d suggest you go to music. For me, sometimes God can take the doctrines/truths from head-knowledge to heart-passion in me through art that is excellent, like music.
The music that I am suggesting to you now would fit that category. It’s well-crafted music that also is deeply rooted in Scripture. Perhaps playing these songs and meditating on the Scriptures of the songs will help you “in peace, lie down and sleep.”
The group is called Scripture Lullabies and they have three albums you can find on iTunes called “Hidden In My Heart, vol 1-3.”
You may say, “Lullabies, josh? Seriously?” And to that, I would just push you to a couple songs to see for yourself. Come and see!
Here’s one called, “The Peace Of God”
Here’s one called, “Be Still And Know”
Finally, here’s one more called “Wonderfully Made.”
Look, I get it…typing in the word “lullabies” as an adult can seem a bit…well, strange. So what? These songs are straight from Scripture and they are arranged with care and talent. It’s like a soundtrack from the Bible. Cinematically-Sounding-Scripture-Songs.
It’s good stuff. As you lay down and plug in the ear buds, may they be a help to you. May they bring peace to your mind and heart as you think about God’s goodness.
If you’re a parent of little ones, you can also make it part of your kid’s nighttime routines. Personally, our three kids LOVE the songs (bonus—they are also learning Scripture!) and it has helped with a couple “nightmare” issues. Maybe you’re a grandparent…well, be the cool grandparent who gives your grandkids good gifts!
It’s not a fool-proof plan, but you can’t really go wrong by knowing that Jesus sees you and then dwelling on His Word that has been put to song with excellence. When you (or your kids) have sleepless nights, let these 2 steps be the beginning of how you calm down, remember your Savior, think of His goodness, and listen to His Word.
Let these be the first steps towards a real, restful, and peaceful night’s sleep.
As always, thanks for reading. Your comments and insights are always welcomed. You can subscribe to get the latest content and you can hear me regularly on the Cross-Cutting Culture Podcast. If you enjoyed this, please share it. Want more? Be sure to visit the archives.