O ye of little sleep

A finals week sigh.

Well, sure, I believe in God. God made the sky and the fish and the trees and thank you God for our food. God loves us and God is good and God has a plan for my life.

But sometimes, still, I believe and shudder. There’s some terrible bad stuff going on here in the land of the living. Dear God may or may not speak my love language, or have the same idea as me of a good time, or share my vision of a best outcome. So far, anyway, that seems to be the case.

This causes me to wonder if I really do believe, or if I believe in the right things, or if I believe in the right amount. Life sometimes asks, “so, how’s that faith workin’ fer ya?” Maybe I don’t know. [Shudder.]

That rattling feels like fear. I tell myself it is a fear of God; unpredictable, terribly big, whose-side-are-you-on-anyway God. I imagine it is the shaking of my feeble craft steering through the treacherous God-storm.

I noticed, recently, though, that I shook because I was so tired. Not tired from courageously taking the helm in the storm, but from fearfully gripping the steering. I shuddered not from lack of faith, but from fullness of will. I believe in God, but I don’t trust God. I tremble with absolute willful defiance.

When I pray, “your kingdom come, your will be done,” I have something in mind about how that looks. It looks like what I want, when I want it. My daily bread comes with two sides and a drink. My trespasses are fairly hard to prosecute, since all this is mine, and all that’s mine, too. So back off my stuff, those who trespass against me. That goes for you, too, God.

I am big on ideas about God, but little of faith. I shake at the wheel, because I can’t steer this thing. My will is not big enough to fight life and win. Maybe yours is. More power to ya. And let me know where you got it.

Jesus once slept in the hull of a storm-tossed boat, while his shipmates panicked. They accused him of not caring for them, because he slept while they shook, because he was unstirred by the chaos.

A friend of mine says sleep is the most profound form of prayer. I find it takes great trust to find stillness, even in a safe place. I am busy for control, for security, for certainty. I am restless; perhaps for lack of a safe place, or perhaps for lack of the willingness to rest. It’s my lack of faith that keeps me up nights. “The Lord grants sleep to those he loves,” says the psalmist. Maybe the beloved rests not because she can conceive of a good God, but because she trusts that the good God loves her.

I am tired. And so I am practicing:

God made me,
God knows me,
God longs for me.
God sets all things right, as I rest in God’s will.

I believe. Help my unbelief.

May those of us at the end of exams, and all us regular sling-and-arrow dodging joes, find a quiet place where we can rest our will, and know our life is in the hands of a loving God.


2 responses to “O ye of little sleep

  1. You are not alone. Thank you for voicing what many of us feel, but are afraid to say out loud.

    “All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.”


    • Thanks, Drew. I’m grateful for those in the same boat, and those who have more experience than me on the other side of this. I was helped recently by someone saying, “if you get in the middle of the boat, you’re less likely to fall out.”


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