Sleep in Somewhat Heavenly Peace

by Steve Krogh

“That’s the last wire I need to attach to your skull. Have a good night. Sleep and breathe well, Mr. Krogh.” With those words, Curt, the technician at the St. Mary’s Sleep Disorder Clinic, turned out the lights and shut the door. I laid my head on the pillow, knowing that Curt was watching my every move via infrared camera, listening via a microphone, monitoring my breathing lungs, beating heart, twitching eyes, and soon-to-be snoring nose.

Before he shut the door he said reassuring things like: “You need to have 20 sleep events in the next two hours to get a passing score on the sleep apnea study. You will know you passed if I wake you up in the middle of the night and put a mask over your face.”

Well, aren’t those cheery thoughts? I had always done well in school, but how exactly do you pass this test, when you are supposed to be unconscious? Let’s see. First, I need to get to sleep. Not that easy with 20 wires hanging from your head, face, index finger, chest and legs. Second, I must sleep on my back, not my side or stomach. Third, it’s hot in here. Fourth, I can hear people talking in the hallway. Fifth, why isn’t my wife asleep next to me? Oh, that’s right, she was the one who got me committed to this clinic in the first place. Something about my snoring keeping her awake. Well, wait till she hears the results of this study. Something like, “Mrs. Krogh, your husband doesn’t snore. In fact, he never went to sleep!”

So, how do I get to sleep knowing that Curt is probably reading my mind through those wires? What if I fail this test and my sleeping privileges are forever revoked? I pray for each member of my family, pray for those in our church with physical needs, those with spiritual needs. I recite the Lord’s Prayer, not too loud, lest Curt hear me. On second thought, maybe it would be good for Curt. I recite some memory verses, including Proverbs 6:4 (a fitting verse for this sleep center; look it up). I think about riding my motorcycle through winding roads in Wisconsin. I think about our daughter having a baby in March, which makes me remember our son Luke being born right here at St. Mary’s hospital, which makes me think of . . . how I am not sleeping!

Next thing I know, Curt is saying, “Congratulations, you passed. It's 12:30 a.m., let me put this mask over your face.” I wasn’t this relieved to pass a test since the final exam in second year Hebrew in seminary. Next thing I know, the bodiless voice of Curt intones through the speaker “Good morning, Steve. It's 5:30 and you can go home as soon as I disconnect your wires.”

Sleep. Breathe. Something we take for granted. Sleep is mentioned in the Bible 129 times, slumber, eleven times. Paul twice mentions sleepless nights (2 Cor 6:5; 11:27), which had nothing to do with Curt and everything to do with being persecuted for the gospel.

King Solomon said sleep was “sweet” (Ecclesiastes 5:12). He said God “gives to his beloved even in
his sleep” (Psalm 127:2). Imagine that! God gives and blesses his people whom he loves even as we sleep! Even while you were sleeping last night, God was ruling the world with a sovereign hand. His eyes were watching over his people, from dirt-floored huts in Cameroon to snow-covered homes in West Chicago. While you were sleeping, God was alert, graciously giving to you and blessing you.

Sleep. Something we need in order to survive. We are creatures. Weak. Fragile. Frail. Clay. Dependent.

Sleep. Something God does not need. He survives without it. He is the Creator. Powerful. Strong. Never tiring. Firm. Constant.

Sleep. We need it, and God gives it.

Next time you can’t sleep, or when you awake from a night of God-blessed sleep, think over these words of Psalm 121:

My help comes from the LORD,
who makes heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is your keeper;
the LORD is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all evil;
He will keep your life.
The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.

Thank you, Lord, that you who needs no rest, graciously gives to us who do need rest. Thank you, Lord, that you are our keeper. You give us breath. Today, tonight and for all eternity.

A Sabbath Breath

by Virginia Hughes

The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Job 33:4

"Breathe in and hold, hold, hold; and…Breathe out."

I am in the MRI scanner. I breathe and hold on cue. The audio instructs, "breathe, breathe and hold." A live woman's voice interrupts occasionally to chastise me for not following the tape. "Follow the tape!" I am in trouble for breathing? Or not breathing?

It's funny. I want to laugh, but am sedated, and can't remember how to laugh. I've been strapped to the table, in a dark tunnel for a very long time. The live voice again, "Are you going to follow the tape or do we need to start over?" I do not know the answer to the questions. I am so tired. Now I'm being chastised for falling asleep. "Just breathe when you're told to, but do not sleep!" The live voice cuts in again. "Please breathe according to plan," the voice demands, but it's her plan not mine. 

His plan not ours. Adam's beginning was earth's miry clay. A mud form God breathed into being. We are miraculous breathing machines, but we forget important things. We get sedated by activity. We get lost. We get overwhelmed. We get far away from the most obvious things like sabbath rest. We are commanded to rest. Worship is our breath. Connecting to our creator and allowing him to revive us again In my parents' home, the eight of us children were forbidden to do anything on Sundays except go to church, help Mom with meals, read our Bibles and take a long nap in the afternoon.

Or we could go witnessing with Dad. My dad was tenacious about sharing the gospel.

Witnessing meant go up to a house and knock on the door. If anyone answered, Dad would ask to come in and talk about salvation. He would read the Bible, pray and invite everyone in the home to the church where he pastored. Sometimes one or two of us children accompanied Dad.

There was an unlikable man in our neighborhood who didn't want the pastor nosing around. But one of his children let us in one Sunday afternoon, and Dad had me read the Bible verses. Then we prayed until their angry dad stormed in ordering us to leave because he didn't want to hear any hellfire and damnation sermons in his own house. Dad invited the angry man and his family to our home or church anytime. He gave a Bible to the wife and ended with "God loves you."  And the man uttered a bunch of words I'd never heard before and threw the Bible in our direction while we were descending the porch steps. It landed in the shrubs. I asked Dad why visit such a bad man? Dad said he wanted the family to know who he was and where he lived. “I think they will need help someday. And when they come, I can direct their attention to God's saving grace.” 

The day came when there was a phone call from the wife. My dad yelled, "Call the police!" and ran down the street to the house with the bad man. Dad arrived before the police and went right into the house. I was watching from our second story window.

The police came and the man was taken away. Later, Dad said the man had been drinking, went on a rampage, hit his wife and had been taken to jail. Dad visited the man in jail. No one else did. It was discovered that he was wanted for other crimes and was transferred to a prison farther away. Dad gave him a Bible. He didn't throw it this time.

His wife came to our house one day and thanked Dad for saving her life. She and her children were moving back to her home town. She said, "I can breathe again. By God's grace I can breathe again."

We are commanded to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. The fact that we require a commandment to remember who made us says a lot about us doesn't it? Worship is our breath. It is personal. Connecting to our Creator and allowing him to revive us again every day is a privilege. He intentionally breathed us into being. We must intentionally breathe him in to have our best being. We must breathe at the beginning, breathe in the middle, breathe at the end. Don't forget to . . .

Crackers and Minnows

Lord Jesus,

You needed me?

In this crowded mountain field,

You called me?


Because I only have a little food here.

Five barley loaves and two fish.

Crackers, really, and minnows.

Tiny, broken, and limp.


You asked where to buy bread,

That the people may eat.

Andrew noticed I had a little.

So now I bring it to you.


Sorry it took me awhile.

I hesitated at first,

And then I tripped a few times on the way.

But here I am.


But I’m a little unsure.

Will I have still something to eat?

This is all I have,

And it wasn’t much.


Others are watching me.

Some with scorn, for I am small.

Some with curiosity, for I am just a boy.

Some with interest, for they are hungry.


But most indifferent. 

Oblivious to what I carry.

Or even more,

What you might do with it.


Here you go.  Take it all.

Can I watch?

You say you will feed many?

How can that be, with only my little lunch?


For what do you thank God

Before He even acts?

For what do you need helpers

To distribute so little?


From where does this all come?

How can this be?

The food multiplies before my eyes.

There is enough for the thousands.


And leftovers even? 

In abundance?

Twelve baskets full?

Who are you, Lord?


Lord Jesus,

I gave you the little I had.

And you did more than I can imagine.

To feed your flock.


I praise you.

I trust you.

For with you,

I am full.

Take my crackers and minnows again, Lord.

And show me what you can do.

by Cheryce Berg