Church bulletin:

I am writing this devotional having had several late nights and then broken sleep once I dozed off. This morning I felt so tried it was almost like being ill. Dr Kelly Bulkelley on the Psychology Today website makes this observation:

There is some natural variability and flexibility in the sleep cycle, hence people can go 24 or more hours without sleep in the right circumstances, without any lasting harm other than additional “rebound” sleep the next time they are able to sleep normally. However, if a person is deprived of sleep for longer than that, several mental and physical problems begin to develop. The first signs of sleep deprivation are unpleasant feelings of fatigue, irritability, and difficulties concentrating. Then come problems with reading and speaking clearly, poor judgment, lower body temperature, and a considerable increase in appetite. If the deprivation continues, the worsening effects include disorientation, visual misperceptions, apathy, severe lethargy, and social withdrawal.

To sleep well and feel rested is a wonderful blessing which can easily be taken for granted. The Bible indicates that rest is God’s gift. Psalm 127:2, “……He gives His beloved sleep” God provides for us physically and emotionally in many ways, including granting rest to our minds and bodies. At the same time we also have a part to play in this. Just as we are to work in order to receive our daily bread so we have a responsibility to ensure that we get necessary rest. Here are a few exhortations in this regard:

* Don’t continually stay up too late. How many times do we burn the midnight oil doing nothing in particular or doing things which we could have done earlier. Psalm 127:2, “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep.”

* Pray that God would refresh you and invigorate you as you sleep. We are to pray for our daily needs, one of which is to have the physical strength and mental alertness to take up our responsibilities. Psalm 23:2-3, “He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul……….”

* Learn to cast your cares upon the Lord before retiring to bed. A mind churning over with worry or burdened by the busyness of life will rob us of a peaceful night’s sleep. Psalm 55:22, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.”

Tiredness makes spiritual disciplines difficult; furthermore, when we are tired we are more susceptible to the schemes of the evil one. Temptation often comes calling when we are at our weakest.