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When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Proverbs 3:24 NIV
The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14 NIV
Sleep and rest are often used interchangeably. But in the scriptures I love that God is so good and so detailed. He acknowledges the differences between the two and promises to provide His children with both. Sleep is what we do at night when we lie down in bed. Many of us struggle to fall asleep. Our minds racing. Sometimes even our hearts too. Some of us fight feelings of anxiety. All the fears we managed to push aside during the day come to the fore in the quiet of the night. Fear, worry and anxiety prevent peaceful sleep. God promises His children sweet sleep. In order to enter into this sweet sleep, we must have hearts that have been rid of fear. When we are convinced of God’s love for us, there is no place for fear. God’s perfect love casts out every trace of it. So the sweet sleep God promises is the peace we experience in our unconscious hours.
Rest, though, seems to be different from sleep in the context of these scriptures. Physically we feel rested when we sleep well. But many believers are not experiencing the rest God has promised in our everyday lives. Though we may sleep, our hearts are not at ease. Many of us are fighting fears that creep up on us in various ways. The fear of financial ruin. Fear of being unloved or rejected. The fear of failure. Some of us even fear for our lives. There is no rest for a heart filled with fear. In Exodus, Moses was afraid to lead the people into the Promised Land. God lovingly assured Moses that His presence and favor were with him. God promised to give Moses rest. The rest Moses needed for his soul depended on his choice to trust God. To stand firm on God’s promise and to enter into His rest. Rest, then, would be the peace we experience in our conscious, waking hours.
Sleep and rest, though different, cannot be had without expelling fear from our hearts. And we do this by replacing the fear with trust in the God who will never fail us. Never leave us without support. Over and over in His Word, God promises to be good to His children. May we all choose today to believe that God is who He says He is. To believe that God will do what He says He’ll do. He is good and will care for us in every way that we need it. May we replace fear with faith in our loving God and receive the rest and sleep He has promised.
Love & Blessings,