One of the gifts that God has given me is an uncanny ability to fall asleep practically anywhere. It’s not exactly a talent per se, but it is something that has come in handy. I’ve fallen asleep at rock concerts, in airports, and sitting straight up in a chair. It’s a very useful proclivity when it comes time to travel or in any situation where the point of exhaustion might not be met by the convenience of comfort. It’s something I’ve been grateful for time and time again.
Lately, however, even in the comfort of my own home my normal patterns of rest have been frequently interrupted. There are good reasons for this, but they still result in a lack of sleep. As I’ve tossed and turned though, God has placed on my heart a desire to redeem these moments of restlessness. If I am going to be awake, I might as well be doing things that draw me closer to Him. So periods of my night are often filled with listening to sermons or worship music, hearing someone read Scripture to me, or praying for those whom I know that have lost loved ones recently. Rest may allude me, but that doesn’t mean worship needs to as well.
There are periods of life that are often like these fitful nights of sleep. We may feel unsettled and uncertain of the work that God is doing. Our points of exhaustion may never seem to find the comfort that we so desperately seek. Refreshment and renewal can seem elusive. We spend our time pondering what God is doing and wondering where He is leading next.
And just like my own restless nights, He can redeem this restlessness as well.
As written previously, when David faced one of these seasons, when he wondered how long he would lack peace from those who pursued them, he did two things – he looked to the past and saw God’s faithfulness, and looked to the future with a commitment to praise Him (See Ps. 13:5-6). As we follow this pattern, we will be reminder of how God has used the uncertainty that we have faced before to increase our reliance on Him. We will see that He has faithfully used the times where we lacked clarity to work in ways that we could not have anticipated. HIs provision was not dependent upon our understanding – instead, even as we struggled to make sense of what was happening, He was busy bringing us to the place He desired us to be.
This should inspire praise. Not only for the work that He has done in the past, but for the confidence that we can have in the future. Like the Psalmist, we can say that we will “look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Ps. 27:13). We might not know how God will work, but we can know that He is. Life may seem uncertain, but we can have confidence in the One who never is (Ja. 1:17).
Ecclesiastes reminds us that to “everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (Ecc. 3:1). God is not wasting this time of our uncertainty, and neither should we. We know that while rest may evade us now, God will lead us “besides still water” and He will “restore [our] soul[s]” (Ps. 23:2). And we will find the peace that we seek, as we rest in Him.