Sleep is a wonderful gift from God. It’s even more wonderful when it eludes me. We usually don’t even think about it until we lose it or don’t get what we feel we need.

Last night I woke up at 2:22 am. Boing! My eyes were tired and I kept them shut, but my body and mind were wide awake! This happens every so often. I’ll have a few nights of a good 8 hours, then one of waking up in the middle of the night and lying there for several hours.

Isn’t it ironic that when we’re kids, it’s such a novelty and treat if we get to stay up late for a special occasion. And when we’re teens, we make it a habit to stay up as late as we can as often as we can. I remember one time my family and some friends spent a couple of days at Pine Knot, a cabin my grandparents owned in the mountains of western Pa. The cabin had 2 large rooms: 1 was furnished with multiple beds, the other with kitchen and dining furniture. I was an older teen at the time, and my brother and sister, along with other teen friends decided to stay up all night. We played games and chatted at the dining room tables until daylight. Not one wink of sleep all night. This was pretty significant! And I bragged about it to my Grandpa. He told me then that once you lose sleep, you never make it up. Really? I had never thought about that and what kid does?

The college age young person stays up late to study for exams, write papers, or party into the wee hours. Just about the time you get some common sense and decide you feel so much better with a good night’s sleep, you get married and start a family. Most babies do not sleep through the night. None of mine did for a very long time.

As the children get older, there are many nights where they do sleep long hours. But there are those nights when they get sick or have nightmares or just can’t sleep for whatever reason. One of our daughters (she knows who she is!) used to come into our room in the middle of the night and announce: “Mommy, Daddy, I can’t sleep.” Thanks for letting us know!

Then the cycle begins again as your own children hit their teen years and think you’re so “old” and “out of it” for going to bed soooo early. I remember another daughter insisting to us one time: “Mom, no one – NO ONE – goes to bed as early as you guys.” Well, what she didn’t realize was that she didn’t get up as early as we did. At the time, Andy needed to be at his job by 6:00 am.

So we get the kids all married and out of the house. Life is wonderful. We’ll finally get a good night’s sleep. Surprise! Now we’re in our fifties and I’ve hit menopause. Aghghghghgh!

So long ago when I was up in the night with a nursing baby, I determined I would use the time constructively instead of complaining and wishing I could be back in my bed. What do I do with those precious night time hours when I happen to be awake:

1. I listen to the quiet and enjoy it. There’s nothing as peaceful and restful as a house in the middle of the night.
2. I review Scriptures I’ve memorized. One verse I particularly like and it is very appropriate: “On my bed I remember You. I think of You through the watches of the night.” (Psalm 63:6)
3. I take advantage of the time to pray: for my family, friends, enemies (!), my church, country, missionaries, the world, and anything else the Lord might bring to my mind.

are 2 quotes Pastor Mark uses at times:

The first requirement for a Spirit filled life is 8 hours of sleep.~Lewis Sperry Chafer

Fatigue makes cowards of us all.~Vince Lombardi

I found this quote on the web:

If people were meant to pop out of bed, we’d all sleep in toasters. ~Author unknown, attributed to Jim Davis

One of my favorite children’s books ends with a lullaby:

Sleep, sleep, my little fur child,
Out of the windiness, out of the wild,
Sleep, sleep, warm in your fur
All night long,
In your little fur family.

My point is that sleep is a gift, a wonderful gift from God – the Giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). And Psalm 127:2 says:
“In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat – for He grants sleep to those He loves.”

O bed! O bed! delicious bed!
That heaven upon earth to the weary head.
~Thomas Hood, Miss Kilmansegg – Her Dream