by Pastor Tim Burt
There are things that each of us may have gone through in some point of our life that have left us with the thought, “I never want to go through that again.” That’s how I felt after growing up as an insomniac. I believe it’s what led to my becoming addicted to alcohol and drugs prior to giving my life to the Lord at the age of 24. I drank to pass out so I could sleep. That obviously only led from one set of issues to another. After I gave my heart to the Lord, not only was I delivered (completely lost all desire) for drugs and alcohol, but I was delivered from insomnia. I began to read my Bible every chance I got and ended every day by reading my Bible. I had read the verse Proverbs 3:24 “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.” I took that as God’s promise to me. I memorized this, thanked God for it and fell asleep thanking Him for it – every night!
The Lord did teach me that I had to pay attention not only to the part that said, “your sleep will be sweet” but also to “you will not be afraid.” There were some occasions where I was afraid – afraid of returning insomnia. God taught me that fear is the same force as faith, only fear's source is Satan. Whatever you have feared in the past or future is the fear that he'll try to present to you today. Faith is fueled by belief and trust in God’s promises. One promise that should put a sword in your hand to dismember fear comes from 2 Tim. 1:7. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” When I would feel fear over not being able to sleep or the return of insomnia began to surface, I’d rebuke those fears and call them out as the lies that they were! I'd literally speak God's promises out loud to overcome those fears. A calm and peace would come and I would continue to thank God for the promises of His Word.
Over time the Lord revealed that some of the reasons I could occasionally not sleep were self-inflicted. The Holy Spirit taught me not to drink coffee with caffeine after a certain time of the day. It was keeping me awake at night. God later taught me that eating later in the evening or at night made my digestive system work and that kept me awake. He showed me that sometimes it would be about eating a sweet loaded with sugar and that would wind me up. I had to pay attention to the Holy Spirit. I had to listen to His voice as He helped me think through and discern the part I needed to execute in obedience to God. When I did my part in what I allowed myself to consume in the evening and then refused to allow fearful thoughts to reside in my mind, my sleep stayed sweet (and I lost weight.)
I grew up as a worrier. My mom was a worrier. I believe she thought it was a compassionate and caring character quality to worry about everyone. It was imparted to me. God’s Word showed me that worrying is a curse. Prior to receiving Jesus, worrying was what I did during the night. My brain went on overload and I could not stop thinking. The Holy Spirit taught me that worrying was not of God. Matthew 6:27 & 34 says, ”Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Of course not….“So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today.” And 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about what happens to you.” The Holy Spirit taught me that my mind belonged to me and that I could control what I thought. I was to learn to exclude and cast out worrying. That was one of the most amazing things I had ever learned. I trained myself to shut my mind down from all the busy nagging thoughts that would try to invade and instead focus only on what I was reading from the Word of God. God gives us the authority and directive to do this in 2 Corinthians 10:5 (KJV) "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ..."
There were occasions when I would suddenly wake up in the middle of the night. It was different from any time in the past. I would just suddenly awaken and it was like I was wide awake. I learned that this was the Lord. He wanted me to pray. I learned to yield to them and be used of God in prayer. I would usually pray in tongues and with my understanding. Psalm 16:7 says, “I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.” These kinds of times were amazing because it was like the Lord would illuminate things I needed to know, pray for, and pay attention to (but not worry about – just pray!) It was like it helped me catch things that might have slipped between the cracks or that I would have forgotten to taken care of. For that reason, I have kept a journal and pen by my bed or called my voicemail to remind myself what the Lord was speaking to me in the night.
When I started yielding to this, it created another fear – the fear of a lack of sleep and the fear of being exhausted the next day. Yet I knew in my heart the Lord would not wake me up to pray and then leave me exhausted. I’d just pray that He would give me grace and strength for that day and then bless me with sweet sleep the next night. I had the promise of God for that. Psalm 4:8 “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” And, Psalm 28:8 says, “The Lord is their strength, and He is the saving strength of His anointed.”
Just as we have special times with anyone we are close and intimate with, so the Lord brings us into special and intimate times with Him. I think one reason that it occasionally happens in the night is because it’s so quiet and so detached from the rest of the day that if we yield to those occasions, what we hear from God can be amazing.
I know when I write some of this, it might appear like these things happened suddenly and easily. Trust me when I tell you these are lessons learned over time taught by the Holy Spirit while spending time in the Word and prayer. God's promises always prevail in our life when we learn to take hold of them by faith and stand on them. We do so until they are completely manifest in our life. And then we thank Him again and again forever and ever!
2 Samuel 22:31 (NLT) “God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection."
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2013 All rights reserved
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2013 All rights reserved