Source: Naomi Schmidt, http://wels.net/dev-women/not-slumber-nor-sleep/
It seemed nightmares plagued his sleep. His little arms flailed as he whimpered and squirmed. I gently rubbed his back and sang quietly to soothe him. It had been a long day for both of us. His newborn sister was still fighting to breathe in the ICU. Wires, monitors and alarms worked to keep her alive in an atmosphere filled with tension and fear. His parents were still praying through tears, waiting for the Flight for Life team. At not quite three years old, how could he understand images like that? How do any of us?
God soothes us
Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you a blaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior (Isaiah 43:1-3).
Grandma is here
As his eyes slowly opened he could see me next to him. The bright moon cast a soft light in the window but he didn’t need the light to know I was there. “Grandma is here, sweetheart.” As he heard my voice I could feel his body relax. Stroking his hair, I could feel the tension fade. As I sang his favorite hymn his breathing calmed. He felt safe again and began to drift asleep.
God is here
Be still my soul; the Lord is on your side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to your God to order and provide;
In ev’ry change he faithful will remain.
Be still my soul; your best, your heav’nly friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end. (CW 415:1)
In the quietness of his trust my heart was drawn to our Heavenly Father. This little boy in my arms felt safe because I was there with him, but I felt so empty and helpless. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t fix this – I couldn’t even explain it to him. Yet he rested by my side because he knew my love. In that very thought, I found the peace of God calming my heart. I rest because I know his love. I feel safe because I know who my Heavenly Father is and what he did for me. This powerful and Almighty God holds me in the palm of his hand. His peace goes beyond all understanding; he comforts me in times of fear and uncertainty.
He watches over you
This great and powerful God is my God. The one who reigns over heaven and earth is the one who loves me. All things are in his hands. He will never forget me, never fail me. He does not slumber or sleep. He always watches over me. And when my restless, fearful eyes open in the deep of night, he is there. He gently whispers comfort in Scripture’s familiar verses, for his Word is hidden in my heart.
“…(H)e who watches over you will not slumber; indeed he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121:3-4).
Look to the cross
In the trials that threaten to shatter your peace, listen to the still, calming voice of your Heavenly Father. Remember his gentle tenderness and compassionate love, but never forget his power and majesty. Trust in his unfailing love and rest in his promises of faithfulness. Recall the Old Testament stories that reveal his divine plans, unfathomable timing and miraculous strength. Look to the cross and remember the sacrifice he gave to make you his child and show you his perfect love. This is the God who is with you, watching over you, and taking care of you. Rest in his peace for his love never fails. Sleep with stillness for he holds you through the night.
Heavenly Father, there are times of darkness when I am overwhelmed with fear. Rescue me with your strong and mighty arm! Give me strength moment by moment to trust in you. Soothe my fears with your Spirit and sustain me through times of hardship. Use your Word to heal my broken heart and lift my eyes to heaven. May I rest secure in your peace and love. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.