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?