For 13 years now I have awakened around 3:00 in the morning with insomnia. Wide awake, I have to get up and move around for an hour or two before I can relax enough to go back to sleep. Lately I’ve had a new problem develop of not being able to go to sleep if I’ve had a stimulating evening. (Do I talk about my insomnia too much? I apologize if you’re sick of hearing about it, but it’s a daily part of my life, so it keeps coming up.)
Then there’s this man of mine, and he has trouble going to sleep. Often we’re like night watchmen, him coming to bed just about the time I’m crawling out.
I have learned to submit to God’s mighty hand in this. I used to cry and be angry when I was awake. Now I say, Okay, Lord. I’ll accept whatever sleep you give me.
But I can’t help asking, Why?
Why doesn’t God bless us with good sleep? Why is God asking my husband to counsel so many troubled people and prepare a sermon every week on so little sleep? Why does God ask me to teach Spanish and be a writer and lead a Bible study on nothing but steam?
Today I got an encouraging answer in Paul’s words to the Corinthians.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7 NIV)
My preacher husband and I have been given the treasure of the gospel.
And we have been given insomnia.
To show something.
I’ve read tons of missionary biographies and autobiographies. Do you know that quite a few of those world-changing missionaries struggled with physical problems? Right now I’m reading about Hudson Taylor who started the China Inland Mission, and he was responsible for bringing over 800 missionaries to China. He struggled with poor health.
To show something.
The immeasurable power of God worked through Hudson to do the widest sweep of evangelism since the Apostle Paul –all with a sickly body. He was so puny growing up that no one could even imagine him surviving as a missionary, let alone changing the country with the gospel.
Does it seem physically impossible for you to influence the world for Christ? Maybe you have a chronic illness or musculoskeletal pain or headaches.
Those struggles make you the perfect candidate for showcasing God’s power.
So you with your autoimmune disease and me with my sleep deprivation, we have to decide –do we care more about our physical comfort today or seeing the all-surpassing power of God demonstrated through our weakened condition?
It’s painful and a little terrifying to say it out loud, but I want to see the power of God more than anything.
More than sleep.