Bible Verses for the nights you can’t sleep

  • Psalm 3:5 ESV
    I lay down and slept;
        I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.
  • Psalm 4:8 ESV
    In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
        for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
  • Psalm 121:3-4 ESV
    He will not let your foot be moved;
        he who keeps you will not slumber.
    Behold, he who keeps Israel
        will neither slumber nor sleep.
  • Psalm  123:1-2 ESV
    The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
        He makes me lie down in green pastures.
    He leads me beside still waters.
  • Psalm 127:2 ESV
    It is in vain that you rise up early
        and go late to rest,
    eating the bread of anxious toil;
        for he gives to his beloved sleep.
  • Proverbs 3:24 ESV
    If you lie down, you will not be afraid;
        when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
  • Isaiah 26:3-4 ESV
    You keep him in perfect peace
        whose mind is stayed on you,
        because he trusts in you.
    Trust in the Lord forever,
        for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.
  • Matthew 11:28-30 ESV
     Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Bad Dreams

” The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, And in the night His song shall be with me—
A prayer to the God of my life.”
Psalm 42:8

The other night I was startled awake at 3 a.m. by a child’s nose touching my nose and two eyes staring intently into my sleeping face.  Then, in the loudest whisper possible, my daughter announced, “Mom, I had a bad dream!”

We can write nightmares off as a “kid thing,” but in the darkness, when we don’t have the busyness of the day to distract us, our fears can overpower us and our thoughts run wild.

In the daytime, I’m fairly good at “taking captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV).  I know the Scriptures and God’s promises to provide for me, to care for me, to help me, to be with me.

But at night, my defenses are down.  So, it’s easy to lie awake pursuing “what if’s,” prepare speeches, imagine conversations, and make plans.

That’s why it’s not surprising to me that when Nicodemus came to Jesus to ask questions about his faith, “he came to Jesus at night” (John 3:2, NIV).  I know Nicodemus wanted to hide his interest in Jesus from the other Pharisees, but I also wonder if something else was at work.

Could it be that Nicodemus tossed and turned at night, wondering who this Jesus was?  Could it be that he couldn’t stop the questions and just wanted some answers?

I’ve been meditating this week on Mark 6:45-52.  In that passage, Jesus had sent the disciples away on a boat while he went off by Himself to pray.  It says: “Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land.  Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them.”

This is the second of two occasions where Jesus calmed the wind and waves for the disciples.  This time, the event is miraculous even before the storm is calmed—-because Jesus “saw them.” He saw them in the middle of the night, from the other side of the shore, even with the wind and waves at their worst.

He saw them in the darkness.

Not only did he see where they were on the sea, but he saw the horrible storm they were facing and he saw their every effort to overcome it.  “He saw them straining at rowing for the wind was against them.”

When things are dark for us—either literally at night when we’re tossing in bed unable to sleep or just in times when we can’t sense the Lord’s presence or light in our circumstances—He sees us.  He knows everything we are facing and all of our efforts to overcome.  He knows what thoughts steal our sleep.

For the disciples in that storm, Jesus’s presence alone brought them peace.  He walked to them on the water and comforted them, saying: “Do not be afraid.’  Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased” (verses 50 and 51).  It didn’t take magical formulas or even speaking to the storm.  Jesus was present with them, and the tempest ended.

It is the same with us.  No matter our storm or the darkness we face, we can have peace in His presence.  As the Psalmist wrote, “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8, NIV).

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Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2011 Heather King

Tyranny of the Urgent

Charles Hummel wrote about how to be free from the “Tyranny of the Urgent,” and I could probably use some of those tips just about now.  My windows are open, it’s beautiful outside and instead of enjoying a relaxing day, I’m rushing to meet demands and fulfill requests, mostly for people under 4 feet tall.

How about you?  Do you feel like you are pushed from one urgent thing to another, always rushed, always breathless?  When my husband asks me in the evenings or weekends, “What do you want to do?,” I always answer with the list of things I have to do.  I have to do the laundry and the dishes, mop the floor, answer some emails, send a note, finish some work . . .

This morning, I was reading Psalm 127 and it made me laugh.  All you moms of young children might enjoy a giggle, too:

In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep to those he loves.

Children are a heritage from the LORD,
offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them (Psalm 127:2-3, MSG).

Are you laughing?  I just find it so perfect that God promises rest and sleep and then in the very next verse reminds us that “Children are a heritage from the Lord.”  Some days we just need the reminder that these precious little people who don’t let us sleep in and think that Mom sitting down for 2 minutes is a problem best rectified by asking for her help every 10 seconds–yes, these little children are a blessing from God.

Even those of you who don’t have young children at home probably feel the burdens of numerous demands placed on your shoulders.  Living in this world requires us to meet certain demands and expectations.  We can’t simply shrug off all of our responsibilities.  We have school schedules to submit to, work deadlines to meet, ministry demands to fulfill, and families to care for.

It reminds me of Martha in Luke 10. She’s rushing around, totally stressed, trying to provide the best hospitality for her guests, Jesus and His followers.  It says that, “Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.”   She was doing what she “had to” do.

What blesses me about this is that Jesus looked right at her and said, “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,  but few things are needed—or indeed only one” (Luke 10:41-42, NIV).

God can look straight into my heart many times every day and say, “Heather, Heather, you are worried and upset about so many things, but only one thing really matters–your relationship with Me.”

In the middle of all of the “musts,” “have-to’s,” and “shoulds” on our to-do lists, it’s easy for time with God either not to fit into our highly scheduled lives at all or for it make it on the list just as another “have-to.”

God doesn’t want to be another item on our to-do list.  He doesn’t keep a running tab in heaven of how many minutes you spent on your quiet time today or whether or not you are behind on your Bible reading plan.  He simply desires intimacy with you.  He calls you to come away to spend time with Him, but He does it by wooing us and offering us grace and rest in His presence, not by making demands on us.

As it says in Matthew 11:28-30:

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly (MSG).

This world forces its rhythms onto us, but God offers to teach us the “unforced rhythms of grace.”   Accept His grace.  You are loved and valued by Him whether or not your house is spotless, your kids practiced the piano every day this week, the laundry is folded neatly and put away, your work is perfect and your desk organized.  His grace sets you free from the “tyranny of the urgent” and lets you “live freely and lightly” instead.

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Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2011 Heather King