"For then I should have lain down and been tranquil; had I slept, I should then have been at rest." —Job 3:13
Jesus wants to be Lord of our sleep. He plans to use our sleep both to advance His kingdom and to bless us with sufficient rest. Satan also has plans for our sleep, since it occupies nearly one-third of our lives. In addition to the sleep we lose through the activity of children or neighbors, Satan attempts to rob us of more sleep by tempting us to worry (see Eccl 5:11), fear (Sir 40:5-7), or anger (Eph 4:26ff). When we need to fall asleep, we instead lie awake and fret. This gives the devil a chance to operate on us (see Eph 4:27) and further his sabotage of God's kingdom.
We really need discernment in the area of sleep. At times we are called to do without some sleep. The author of 2 Maccabees spent many "sleepless nights" writing the word of God (2 Mc 2:26). Like Jesus, we can be called to intercede and pray long into the night (Mt 14:23, 25). At other times, we sleep when we should be attentive to the Lord (see Mt 26:40ff; Prv 6:9ff; 1 Sm 3:1ff). Conversely, we often are called to sleep, but we won't. We stay up late entertaining ourselves or working for perishable food (Jn 6:27) when God our Father wants to provide for us. "It is vain for you to rise early, or put off your rest, you that eat hard-earned bread, for He gives to His beloved in sleep" (Ps 127:2).
If we give our lives to the Lord and live by His teaching, He will tell us: "When you lie down, you need not be afraid, when you rest, your sleep will be sweet" (Prv 3:24; see also Prv 19:23; 1 Sm 2:8). In His peace, we gratefully respond: "As soon as I lie down, I fall peacefully asleep, for You alone, O Lord, bring security to my dwelling" (Ps 4:9). "Sleep in heavenly peace."
Prayer: Father, like Jesus, may I sleep soundly even in the violent storms of my life (Mt 8:24-25).
Promise: Jesus "firmly resolved to proceed toward Jerusalem." —Lk 9:51
Praise: St. Jerome translated the Hebrew Scriptures into Latin.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 25, 2008
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