I thoroughly believe that this is the most over-medicated society ever seen in human history. Please don’t get me wrong: I'm eternally grateful for the drugs which we use to make ourselves healthy and which keep many of us alive. I'm actually dependent 24 hours a day on insulin, so I’m not against medication per se. But I do think we’ve really overdone it. We take drugs to relax us and drugs to perk us up, and we depend on the pharmaceutical business to alter our moods and keep our children under control.
The sleeping-aid industry is the one I’d like to focus on today. Why do so many people have trouble getting to sleep? I'd put most of it under one umbrella: anxiety. They worry about their job, about paying bills, about their kids, about their marriage, about their health, and this naturally keeps them up at night.
Well, if you’re familiar at all with the Psalms, you know that anxiety was the constant companion of the Psalmists, especially David. Assuming that he wrote the Psalms which bear his superscription (which I do), he definitely had cause to worry. Read 1st and 2nd Samuel, for goodness sake! He was on the run from Saul, who used all the resources of an entire nation to hunt him down and kill him. Once that was over, he had to overcome the hostility of half a nation which clung to Saul’s household. Then he had constant warfare with enemy nations which outnumbered him several times. Then in his later years he had all the heartbreak associated with his sinful dalliance with Bathsheba and its consequences. This included A) The death of his infant son, B) The rape of his daughter by her half-brother, C) The murder of that son by another son, and D) The insurrection and rebellion of that same son against him, which came within a hairsbreadth of succeeding. Do you think David had any reason for sleepless nights? I promise you, he had more to worry about than you ever will, or at least I hope so.
But read these Psalms again, and notice in particular verse 5 in the 3rd Psalm and verse 8 in the 4th: “I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.” “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.” With all the enemies which surrounded him, he was able to sleep like a dead man. Every night when he laid down his head and closed his eyes, humanly speaking he didn’t know if he'd wake up again or if some secret assassin would slip through his defenses. But he knew that “He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” Unlike the gods of the pagans, God never takes naps. He watches over us, and his eye never closes and he never gets distracted. Whatever happens to us (good or bad) has to be filtered through his perfect and loving plan. No matter what our enemies’ purposes (or our great Enemy’s plans), we too can take a lesson from David.
I know it sounds like a cliché, but sometimes clichés are clichés because there’s truth in them. Simply pray about what worries you, and leave it with him. Make a conscious decision that you've placed this under his care, and you refuse to worry about it anymore. As Paul told us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” That’s the secret to a good night’s sleep.
Lord Jesus, I worry about so many things, and I know that it’s a sin. Help me, both once and for all and on a daily basis, cast all my anxieties on you.