Have you had any sleepless nights lately? Do you struggle to lay peacefully in bed because something, or someone, is consuming your thoughts?
I wish I could write to you this week and tell you that my heart is fully at peace. But it's not. I wish I could confidently declare that I rest in God's care and trust in God's plan. But I don't.
Do I struggle less than I once did? Yes, by God's grace. My rest is more consistent, and my heart enjoys a greater peace than in the younger days of my faith. But I still have my doubts and my moments of anxiety. I know I'm not alone.
So, if you're anything like me, there have to be verses in the Bible that confuse you, or maybe even discourage you. Verses like Psalm 4:8 - "In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety." Or Psalm 27:3 - "Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear."
How does a Christian, facing the harsh and unpredictable realities of life in fallen world, get to a point where they can go to sleep with a heart at peace? Is this Psalmist faking his spirituality? Or has he found some secret ingredient to faith?
I'm deeply persuaded that the secret to a confident heart and a peaceful night of sleep isn't a secret at all. Rather, it's plain-and-simple theology. By that, I mean trusting foundational principles that God lays out in his Word. Here are five:
1. Accept The Chaos
We have a miniscule amount of control in a gargantuan universe. Each day will provide fresh trouble (Matthew 6:34). The more we try to manipulate the situations, locations, and relationships of life, the more we'll become exhausted and discouraged. Live responsibly and be wise, but recognize that you were not designed to govern this world.
2. Know The Facts
Even though I just told you to accept the chaos, the Bible actually declares that everything in the universe is managed with complete and specific authority (Acts 17:26). Nothing is chaotic in God's eyes; he is never confused or taken off-guard. When we tell ourselves otherwise, it makes sense that we'll be stressed and anxious.
3. Trust The Father
God is more than just a ruling deity, exercising his sovereign power of people and places. The Bible tells us that he is also good and will give his children everything we need and more (see Matthew 6:26-32 and 7:9-11). Your life is secure is the hands of a powerful and loving Father.
4. Pursue Spiritual Disciplines
In the midst of trials, it's very tempting to abandon the spiritual disciplines of your faith and try to make it on your own. Pray, fast, meditate on and memorize Scripture, and keep attending worship services and small groups. Immerse yourself in God, his Spirit, his Word, and his body of believers.
5. Know Your Limits
Too many Christians fret trying to decipher God's secret will for their lives. It's a secret, after all! Instead, we should rest within the clear limits of what God has made known to us. Let God be God, and let him establish our steps (Proverbs 16:9).
You and I can sleep because God is wise, loving, and powerful. He is in moment-by-moment control of every detail of our lives.
- Is there evidence from the way you live that your heart is not at rest? Be specific.
- When trouble comes, what do you do with your spiritual disciplines?
- What are you demanding to understand, rather than resting in God's plan?