National Sleep Awareness Week, March 5-11, 2012
By Dr. Charles. W. Page
What do you do when you feel that gentle nudge from your child in the middle of the night asking to cuddle up with you in your bed? This probably goes against the opinions of most sleep gurus but my wife and I allow them to climb in and rest with us. We want our children to feel free to come to us day or night—waking or sleeping—for comfort, reassurance and guidance. Nurturing a relationship of trust and openness with our children is worth the loss of a little shut-eye.
Whoever said, “those who sleep like a baby usually doesn’t have one,” spoke from experience. It’s sometimes scary to see how our dozing toddler practices his midnight tackling drills right in the middle of my back. Tebow beware—linebacker Charlie Page is coming through the ranks. Charlie always seems to glue himself to us instead of spreading out in our king-sized bed. When I move to get a little freedom, Charlie follows—almost like a magnet. My own sleep-shadow! It seems as though children have an innate need to have someone close in the wee hours of the morning.
Has it ever occurred to you that the worries, regrets and fears that you may experience as you fall asleep may be a reminder to curl up to your Heavenly Father? As God’s children, we can take refuge in a heavenly Father that invites us to be close to Him as we lie down to rest. Your “Daddy” is not inconvenienced or bothered by your midnight crisis of faith. The Lord who watches over you never slumbers—He awaits you with open arms. Remember that you are as close to God as you chose to be. “Come near to God and He will come near to you” James 4:8.
What are the barriers that separate you from intimacy with God tonight? Wherever you are, whatever your need—it all begins with worship. David gives us some pointers in the Sixty-Third Psalm as he runs for his life from his son Absalom.
“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” Psalm 63:6-7.
- Remember God—think of some times in your past that God has showed up in a big way for you.
- Think of God—Recall His attributes and His character—His unfailing love towards you—how it is even better than life itself (Psalms 63:3).
- Understand that God is your help—surrender control and allow God to do for you in the nighttime hours what you cannot do for yourself. Appreciate the truth that God has your back covered as you rest.
- Sing. Yes sing to the One who gives songs in the night (Job 35:10). Maybe it’s the rawness of a song of sorrow and pain. Or perhaps it’s one of joy and gladness. One rendering would suggest that we sing “for’ (or to obtain) joy. Have you ever considered that making a melody? Nevertheless, sing in the solitude of the night watches.
- Experience His presence—Being under the shadow of God’s wings reminds us of shekinah glory that one could experience only by being in the most holy place in the temple. Being so close to the ark that the actual wings of the cherubim would cast a shadow over you would require some major life adjustments! This reminds us that God is holy and must be approached with a humble and contrite attitude. But also this picture of the “shadow of your wings” reminds us of how a baby bird seeks shelter, security and comfort under the wings of its mother. We’re encouraged to crawl into the Father’s open arms. As you lay down to sleep, remember that your Heavenly Father desires you to snuggle up close. Surrender your sleep into His arms.
Charles W. Page, MD
Dr. Charles W. Page is a sleep-deprived surgeon who completed medical school and residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. He and his wife Joanna live in Texas with their five children. He is the author of Surrendered Sleep: A Biblical Perspective. Learn more at:www.surrenderedsleep.com/.