The Middle of the Night
Normally, I have a pretty consistent schedule of work, relaxation and sleep. Most of the time, I work more than relax and you would think that at 62 years of age, I would be slowing down a step or two. But that’s not the way it is happening. I have clients spread out across the country and aside from the jet travel, I also drive quite a bit to areas that are within a day of Indianapolis. For years, my patterns have been pretty predictable. I used to travel out of town a day or two a week and as technology advanced, more of my meetings could be done by video conference and it is no longer required that I get on a jet as often as I used to.
But a funny thing is happening in the process. I am finding that it is more difficult to “turn my mind off” at night and that I am requiring a little less sleep than I used to. Except when I travel. Then, once I hit the hotel room after a day of work, I am pretty tired and hit the sack rather early – at least for my normal routine. Several months ago, I actually went through a phase when I would get get tired around 8:00 pm each evening and then, quite without effort, I would be renewed and could find it difficult to get to sleep at a reasonable hour.
But the last month or so, I am not sleeping as well as I used to. For several weeks I was on a medication that caused me to arise in the middle of the night and I could not fall into a rhythm of deep sleep. That didn’t last long. I got off the meds at my earliest opportunity and figured I would return to my normal sleep patterns within a day or two. But that hasn’t been the case.
While sleep is proving to be less elusive than it was for a while, I still find it tough to get a good night’s sleep in a hotel room. I think part of it is that Janet and I have spent so many nights together during the last 42 years that each of us finds it tough to get a good night’s sleep without the other. But I sense there is even more to it than that. I am so busy right now that I wake up thinking about all the things I am working on and I try to keep them all straight. Usually, that’s also when I have some special time with God. I can’t help but think of God throughout the day and you have heard me say before that I live my life expecting miracles, but the middle of the night is when God can really grab me and get His point across for my life.
And while I am sometimes annoyed at my inability to sleep, I eventually get my rest although I can be tired in the morning. Kristin, our oldest daughter, as well as Janet, are both on meds for auto immune issues that also cause them to spend a number of sleepless nights each month. And while I try to assist Janet in any way I can, there isn’t much I can do other than be tolerant of whatever she needs to do to get back to sleep. Generally, a little time in front of the television helps and that is, of course, fine with me. And Kristin knows that her Dad is available to keep her company any time of the day or night. I sleep with the phone next to my side of the bed. I even remember that when my father had cancer back in the late 1970’s, he would call his own mother in the middle of the night.
King David had a similar issue with sleeplessness. At one point of his life, he was on the run – being stalked by his son, who had the intention of tracking down and killing his father, the King. In fact, David tells us about his sleepless nights in one of the psalms that he wrote. And one of those revelations is our verse for the evening. We are told, by David himself, in Psalm Psa. 63:6-8, “On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.” Those of you who have heard me teach or have worked for years with me in ministry know that this is one of my favorite passages in the Bible.
Because of my own conversations with God in the middle of the night, I can just imagine how David may have approached the same situation. That’s when God gets our full attention – in the “watches” of the night – when we usually aren’t thinking about anything in particular and God just patiently waits for our undivided attention. I have found that when I listen for a message and then petition God to return to sleep, I am usually rewarded with a restful balance of the night.
My encouragement this evening is that God wants to have a relationship with us. And He is a patient God. So if your life is too hectic, and there isn’t enough time to spend with the Father and His Son, then God is not above gently waking you in the middle of the night to spend time with you. My prayer is that you realize how much God loves you to do this. While we yearn to spend time with God, please understand that He yearns to spend time with you as well. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace….