This Week’s Beacon

Not so long ago, students would have found themselves in hot water for sleeping in class. Nowadays, however, colleges treat sleepy students gently. Emporia (Kansas) State University, has installed sleeping pods around its campus, so that students will have a private and secure place to catch up on their ZZZs. The soundproof, 43.5 cubic foot bedrooms are just big enough to accommodate a twin bed and a nightstand with a charging port.

“We know that our students, on any campus really, are already napping” said Gwen Larson, speaking for the school. “You can walk through a campus and see students with their head down on a table or curled up in a comfy chair taking a nap. These sleep pods just give them a safe place to get a really good snooze.”

Sleep is important!  People who fail to get an adequate amount of sleep each night face a higher risk for heart attack, stroke, and diabetes.  Their immune system is less resistant to infection and disease. Those with inadequate sleep patterns are more prone to weight gain.  “You basically die at an earlier age,” summarizes Dr. Thomas Kilkenny, Director of the Institute of Sleep Medicine at Staten Island University Hospital.

The Bible also points to sleep as an essential and healthy activity.  In 1 Kings 19, after the prophet Elijah had conquered the prophets of Baal by calling down fire at Mount Hermon, he was forced to run for his life because of Queen Jezebel’s vow of revenge.  Elijah fled into the wilderness and sat down under a broom tree. Discouraged and depressed, Elijah “prayed that he might die.” “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors” (1 Kings 19:4, NIV). To help Elijah, the Lord let him sleep, then sent an angel to wake Elijah up and feed him. Then the process was repeated, with more sleep and more food.  After that second meal, “Elijah went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God.”  Sleep revitalizes and rejuvenates. 

Of course, one can get too much sleep and there are those who sleep when they should be working.  Proverbs 6:10-11 warns, “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.”  Proverbs 10:5 says, “He who gathers crops in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.  Proverbs 20:13 adds, “Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare.”  The Bible endorses the need for sleep but warns against laziness!

Even though he was the Son of God, Jesus felt the need for sleep.  Mark 4:35f tells about a time when Jesus and his disciples were caught in a storm while sailing across the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus (Mark 4:38) “was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” Jesus got up and calmed the storm, later rebuking the disciples for their lack of faith.  Jesus could sleep because he trusted the Father to take care of him. The disciples were panicked because they didn’t!

Because sleep is so important for our health and well-being, and since even Jesus slept, we too must find ways to relax and get the rest we need.

Maybe the President can put you to sleep.  Eighty-one-year old U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross appeared to fall asleep during President Trump’s speech to the U.N. General Assembly last fall.  Ross’ critics say this is nothing new, alleging that the Secretary has fallen asleep in meetings ever since he took office, and adding that he often ends up drooling.  Ross, however, maintains that he was awake, and was simply concentrating on the speech with his eyes closed.

Of course, if the President’s speeches won’t do it for you, then you might need another way to relax.  You could use the same sleep aid Jesus did: Faith.

You can’t fix yesterday’s mistakes, but God can forgive.  You don’t control tomorrow, but God does.  Nothing will happen that He can’t help you handle, so relax, and get some sleep! Psalm 4:8 (ESV) says, “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”