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Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Sleeplessness is a Curse! God Promises Sweet Sleep!

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


Last night I fell asleep in, I would imagine in about 20 seconds. That is about my norm. But, I woke up an hour later and then struggled to fall back asleep. That happens to me from time to time.

Whenever I've laid in bed awake for more than 15 minutes, I get up, grab my Bible, or something related to the Lord, and read—that or spend time praying. I do not lay in bed awake because before long, it starts to feel like torment. At that point, your brain wakes up, begins to think about things and most often leads to worrying. This will not contribute to falling asleep. To the contrary, it pushes sleep further and further away.  When I read and pray, it doesn't take long until I get sleepy, shut off the light, and go back to sleep!

I am glad to be in this better place. I wasn't always in that place. I grew up as a child with insomnia. I can't begin to describe how problematic that is, but it was horrible. I remember staring at a clock all night—night after night. In those days, I did not know Jesus as my Savior. I had never read the Bible and wasn't looking to the Lord for help. My mother who was one of the most kind and selfless people I had ever known, was a worrier. She considered worrying for others being a type of compassion. That sounds good but really it's not. It's contrary to God's Word. Jesus taught that all our worrying doesn't change a thing. God's Word teaches us to cast every care on the Lord and to let all our prayers and petitions be known to Him. Of course I didn't know any of that, and like my mother, also became that compassionate worrier. I slept horribly and worried about everything. It led to many problems in my life but then I met Jesus and my world changed. I began to learn His life-changing word. These are some verses that I took into my heart as instruction and promises from God. When I did, a life-long battle with insomnia disappeared forever!

Psalm 127:2 (NLT)  "It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones."

Matthew 6:34 (NLT) "So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today." 

2 Corinthians 10:5 says, "Cast down imaginations and everything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. Bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…”

Job 11:19 (NIV) "You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid..."

Psalm 4:8 (NLT) "In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe."

As I grew in the knowledge of God's Word, I came to understand that worrying is like sin. It is because it's keeping and owning things we are not capable of fixing. And it undermines faith in God as though He didn't care and couldn't help! When I came to this understanding, I finally prayed this:

"Lord, you have taught me and I believe I have truly learned that I am not in control of my life outside of you. Therefore to lay here and take on all the cares of the church, its future, the problems of people, and more is totally outside of what is right to do. There is way too much in my life that I have no control over. Even the things I appear to have control over only stay under control because you help me and show me what to do. It's never been about my intelligence or wisdom. Forgive me for taking on cares instead of being faithful and careful to bring them to you, trusting in you. You’ve taught me to prioritize my time with you in your Word and in prayer. You’ve taught me to put all my trust in the fact that you will lead and strengthen me to do what I am supposed to do. I know understand that this is my place of peace and refuge. Forgive me for worrying and allowing these cares to rob me of sleep. I know worrying accomplishes nothing while prayers of faith accomplish everything. I delight in leaving all these cares at your feet knowing that only you can show me each step to take as I place my faith and confidence in you.” 

This day was the beginning of sweet sleep that I've been blessed with most of the time since.

We all face real problems and we all have an enemy of our soul that would like to have us worry about everything. Jesus warned us not let our life be weighed down with these things as they would rob our faith and sleep. Luke 21:34-36 says, "Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.... Be always on the watch, and pray... "

When you have things troubling your life and you have to lean on yourself rather than having confidence in the Lord’s help—you’ll have many sleepless nights. My confidence is not in thinking I can fix all the problems and affairs of life that show up at my door. I do have to manage these things, but my confidence is in the Lord hearing my prayers and in His promise to help me. This is the ONLY source of my peace. And it results in such great sweet sleep!

Psalm 4:8 (NLT) "In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe."

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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