Daily Devotion - Thursday, February 25, 2016
6 On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. 7 Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. 8 I cling to you; your right hand upholds me. - Psalm 63:6-8
If you've every suffered from insomnia, you know the pain of being mortally tired and not being able to sleep. Not long ago, I found myself bone-weary but wide-eyed and sleepless in the middle of a Saturday night. I read for a while, then I watched TV until nearly 3 AM. I knew then that my alarm was going to sound in two hours, and I was going to have to get up and get going.
I started to pray at that point. I thought about what I would be preaching later that morning. I prayed brief, fleeting thought prayers over my family, friends and my church. I prayed that God would grant me rest, and at some point rest came, and I slept.
As I read the lectionary Psalm for today, this moment came to mind when I passed over Psalm 63:6-8. "On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night." I don't know why, but it comforted me to think of the ancient psalmist suffering from sleeplessness "through the watches of the night," which causes him to pray and to sing, and to cling to God.
When the noise of the day has faded... When the world around you is quiet and dark... When there is nothing but your own thoughts in the silence... It can sometimes be difficult to be at peace if there is turmoil, trials and tribulation happening all around you. Maybe the state of the world troubles your soul.
Or perhaps you are going through hardship, or have a heavy decision weighing on you. Maybe you just had an argument with your spouse and the presence of your anger and hard words is lying between you in the bed. It could be that your financial woes have finally overtaken you and you can't shake the worry that you are feeling in the quiet and stillness of the night.
I have had some of my most fervent and agonizing times of prayer during the night when everything is quiet and I feel alone and afraid. There have been more than a few moments when I prayed that God would let me sleep and awaken with new eyes, a new heart and a restored spirit. I have also actually prayed that God would let me awaken with miraculous resolution to all of the problems weighing on me in my sleeplessness.
"Because you are my help," the psalmist writes in Psalm 63, "I sing in the shadow of your wing. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me." There's a lot of mixed metaphors going on there, but I love them all. I am not alone. God is with me. The darkness around me is the shadow of God's "wing" hovering over me to protect and guard. God's "right hand" lifts me up. I don't have to be afraid because I am not alone, and I am not at all helpless.
May you wake this morning and every morning with a real sense of the presence of God in your life. May you know in your heart that you have rested in the shadow of His wing, and will be held up today by His right hand. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.