While You Were Sleeping

Strangely enough, the Jews have always considered sundown to be the start of the day. That strikes most of us as odd—very odd. We prefer to think that the day starts when we wake in the morning, and take charge of things. But the Bible declares, “There was evening and there was morning, one day.” (Genesis 1:5)

The day does not begin with me but with God. The first action of the day, as I rest my head on the pillow, belongs to Him. And, biblically, I spend my waking hours catching up with Him, responding to the initiative He has already taken in the world…and in me.

Sandra Bullock starred in the 1995 hit While You Were Sleeping. The romantic comedy follows the antics of a ticket-collector who pretends to be engaged to an unconscious man. He is oblivious to it all. I wonder—how oblivious are we to the work of God in our unconscious moments?

This year, most of us will sleep over 2,500 hours. We sleep more hours than we work.

Some might think of sleep as “wasted time.” We admire those who can get by on less. But might sleep be far more than a necessary evil for our bodies to reboot? What if our sleep is actually the workshop time for God in our subconscious? What if our sleep is His opportunity to shape our hearts and minds because we are not gripping them so tightly?

Perhaps it’s time for us to develop a theology of sleep.

For the first decade or so of their lives, Kim prayed with our sons most nights and included this petition: “Please bless Joel with good thoughts and good dreams.” It began as a way to address nightmares. It became an affirmation of what we believe to be true—God works in us and on us while we sleep.

What if our last thought of the evening was a deliberate surrender of our minds to the Spirit of God? What if the first thought of the morning was an expression of gratitude because He has guarded our hearts and our minds throughout the night?

Perhaps even our sleepfulness, bookended by such spiritual attentiveness, becomes many hours of prayerfulness!

What did the Lord do last night to start the day while you were sleeping?

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14 Responses to While You Were Sleeping

  1. Mike says:

    David, I really never thought about sleep that way, but it makes sence; Tonight I’m going to surrender my sleeping thoughts to Jesus and see what happens. I know if I surrender when I’m awake, I turns out good. Sleep good. Mike

  2. Dan Gonzaga says:

    Hi David,
    Appreciate your thoughts on this blog. The Lord’s been prodding me about stronger connectedness with Him over the last several months. Heightened “spiritual attentiveness” that’s language that resounds in my soul right now. I want to press into that more. Speaking of sleep, the Lord has been using dreams to connect with me more and more. Some time, I’ll tell you more about that.

    Bless you!

    • David Timms says:

      Dan, I’m very interested to hear more of your stories. Drop me an email when you get a moment! Blessings to you and Tammy as you continue to reach the nations for Christ.

  3. Pam Timms says:

    I love your quote from Genesis David! Amazing how often I have read that passage and not noticed the order of night and day to create one day! God does bless you with thoughts ” outside the box” and I always appreciate them. Love you…Mum

    • David Timms says:

      Eugene Peterson was the first one to introduce me to that insight about evening/morning. I’m so grateful for these truly wise people that we get to lean on. Love you, too!

  4. Scott says:

    Perhaps God’s greatest creation happened while man slept…Eve!

  5. dick mecone says:

    This is one of your best insights. Thank you !!! I appreciate all your wiriting and eagerly look forward to each blog… but this one really touched me. I don’t sleep much (5 or 6)… I have too many “concerns”…. More “letting it go” and getting out of the way, that’s my prayer. I forwarded this
    to all my friends… Thanks again…

  6. Dorine Butler says:

    I loved reading this! Thanks so much! Gives me a whole “new” perspective of our Awesome God!

  7. Monty Kelso says:

    Fascinating insight here David. I am always seeking breakthrough perspectives on life. This is one of them. Thanks so much. I have forwarded to a few of the young hipsters I’m always giving grief to over how much they sleep. They will love it! Haha. Sorry I’ve lost touch. Where are you living now and what are you doing?

    • David Timms says:

      Hi Monty, thanks for the note. Yes, there’s surely a balance between restfulness and laziness! 🙂 Kim and I are in northern California and I’m teaching at William Jessup University. Totally loving it! I miss seeing you. Blessings, my friend.

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