It’s currently 3:22am. I don’t really want to be awake. But I am. I have an interview tomorrow, so I really should be sleeping. But I can’t. No, it’s more than that. I don’t want to sleep. Sleep scares me. In fact, it’s that time before sleep – that moment balanced on the precipice between awake and oblivion. What feels like an eternity when your thoughts have free reign and there’s nothing you can do to stop them, when no amount of sheep can jump over them. Your thoughts crash over you like a tidal wave and threaten to wash you out of existence. But the rope of depression holds you there, like a noose around your neck, forcing you to live with it, to be battered and pounded by emotions and ‘what ifs’ and ‘whys’, with no means of escape. I’m scared of that. I’m scared of my own thoughts. I’m scared of going to sleep.
This happens most nights. Most nights I don’t want to go to bed because of what that brings, so I drive myself to breaking point, to the point in exhaustion when you have no choice but to sleep when your head hits the pillow. All I want is sleep, but it’s the one thing I’m afraid of. So I do what I always do when I’m struggling – open my Bible.
Psalm 127:2 In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat – for he grants sleep tothose he loves.
Proverbs 3:24 If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
Psalm 4:8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
Sounds wonderful, but forgive me if I find it hard to accept these verses given my current situation. It feels almost like a kick in the teeth; why aren’t I being given this sleep promised? “He grants sleep to those he loves” – doesn’t He love me? Did I do something wrong? Did I not pray enough or earnestly enough? Did He not hear my cry? I am afraid, and my sleep is not sweet, I don’t feel safe.
I know what I need is Jesus. I need Him. I know the textbook answer; I’ve even written a post on trust! It’s the answer I’d give to anyone else in my situation – place your hope and your trust in Him. But what if right now that isn’t enough? What if right now I can’t hear Him, or feel Him close, and no matter how hard I pray, I can’t seem to find any respite or rest? What then? Sometimes nothing helps me overcome my fears. Not reading the Bible. Not walks, not meds, not reassurances from friends, not prayer, not worship. It’s rubbish. It just is.
2 Samuel 22:7 In my distress I called upon the Lord, And cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, And my cry entered His ears.
I’m quite jealous of Samuel. I would love to have that security, that faith to know my cry from out of the darkness has reached God. I know that I should think it has, but sometimes it’s hard to believe it when nothing changes. I’m in distress, and I’m calling upon the Lord.
My cries start with “Your will be done” and they end with “But I don’t get it and it hurts”. But I keep praying them, even if it feels like they’re falling on deaf ears at the moment.
Because in the end, I still know deep down that the Lord I’m praying to, the one that I sometimes wonder if He’s still listening, does understand and does care. The throne in His temple is not empty. The ears are not deaf. He does care, and does listen, and He will give me the rest I need, when I need it most. Because He still loves me, even if I find it hard to love Him right now. And that’s okay. I’d much rather go through this with Him than without Him.
Exodus 33:14 And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”