Americans have a sleep problem, and it gets worse year by year. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “A third of US adults report that they usually get less than the recommended amount of sleep.” Despite the overwhelming health benefits and the link to chronic diseases, many of us fail to get adequate rest.
This probably isn’t really news to you especially if you are plagued by fear or anxiety. Proverbs tells us that fear is really a wisdom problem, which ultimately is a trust and worship problem (see Proverbs 3:5–6 and the July 8 devotional). Today’s passage urges us to keep a tight focus on wisdom and understanding (v. 21). Why? “They will be life for you” (v. 22). There is a reward for holding onto wisdom, “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet” (v. 24).
A mentor once told me that one of the most significant ways to worship God is to sleep, because sleep is a physical way of saying, “I’m not God.” Resting in God means we give up our controls and acknowledge that God alone is in charge. Notice in verse 25 that it speaks of fear: “Have no fear of sudden disaster.” Why? “The LORD will be at your side” (v. 26).
Solomon tells us the same, that sweet sleep is a consequence of trusting in the Lord, of seeking His wisdom. That is easier said than done, of course, but Proverbs provides us a way forward: trust the Lord, seek His wisdom, and rest in His watchful care. In sum, restful, peaceful sleep is the result of living in right relationship with the God who created us.
>> If you are struggling with sleep, use that time to pray and ask God for wisdom. Give Him each worry that is on your mind, acknowledging that He alone is in control. Seek wisdom and trust the Lord to care for you.
Heavenly Father, take our worries and anxieties and let us sleep deeply and soundly tonight. Nourish our bodies with good sleep. Let us awake refreshed and restored in body, mind, and spirit.