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.