Friday May 15, 2020
Psalm 143:5-10 5 I remember the days of old. I ponder all your great works and think about what you have done. 6 I lift my hands to you in prayer. I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain.
7 Come quickly, Lord, and answer me, for my depression deepens. Don’t turn away from me, or I will die. 8 Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you.
9 Rescue me from my enemies, Lord; I run to you to hide me. 10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God.
May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.
Sleep has many benefits. To begin, it makes us less tired. It helps our immune systems throw off illness. Scientists say it helps our memories. While we sleep, our brains forget clutter and consolidate important facts to remember long term.
Another gift of sleep for me has been, on occasion, dreams that have guided me. They are a route to hear the Holy Spirit that I have sometimes traveled. In one such vivid dream, I was in a rowboat with several of my coworkers. The boat was in a pond surrounded on three sides by familiar things. One side was part of a factory I often visited, another was a laboratory where I worked, and another was the neighborhood where I lived. The fourth side was undeveloped field grass. The boat had a leak, so we had to get to shore before sinking. We paddled rapidly to the familiar places but, as we got close, in each case we saw barriers to getting out of the boat. For example, the factory floor was too high for us to climb out. Finally, we paddled the boat to the undeveloped field and found the water shallow enough to disembark, just as the boat sank. Then I woke up. This guided me to decide I needed to do something else than remain at my then current company.
Not everyone connects with the Holy Spirit that way but a number of others have shared with me how dreams have affected them powerfully.
I’m talking about sleep because the psalmist brings up a universal experience. We all wake up.
When we wake up, we start a new piece of our lives. In some cases we try to apply our dreams to the new piece. In all cases we try to reconnect with all the old pieces. We look for reassurances that everything is still as it should be. Are we OK? Do people still love us? Are we ready to fill all our responsibilities? Do we have a plan for the day? How do we feel about what the day holds for us?
Sleep divides our lives into chunks. Each day is a chunk. Our chunks are highly connected but we ask each one to stand on its own.
This is what motivates the psalmist. He is connected with his past, a past in which he has developed a relationship with God. But he is facing a new morning, a new chunk of his life, and he wants to check in with God. He is facing circumstances that threaten him with depression. And so he begs God to guide and protect him. He prays to God for the comfort of firm footing.
Sleep is a wonderful gift shared by all higher life forms. But it breaks our lives into chunks. Each day we need to reconnect with God. When we encounter stress, like sheltering in place, we naturally seek that reconnection more deliberately.
Let’s reconnect with God now, following the prayer of our psalmist. Let us pray …
“I remember days when my faith was strong and I felt joy because of Your love and promises. I am forever amazed at Your creation and Your gift of letting me be part of it. I raise my hands in prayer to You. Relationship with You gives me life, just as rain gives life to the forest.
I need You right now as I face this virus and its fallout. I don’t want to feel helpless and hopeless and down. I cannot continue if I am alone. But I know I am not alone for I trust in Your love. I will not be aimless; You have given me mission in life and I will pursue it. Those who depend on me will not be abandoned.
Rescue me from anxiety, discouragement, loneliness, and doubt. I run to Your love and promises. My soul is safe in Your hands. I am Your person. I am obedient to You. You have said, “Do not be afraid. Take on my light burden. Love others as I have loved you. Find joy always.” Teach me and I will do all these things.
You are my God. Your ways are right. You will lead me through even the valley of the shadow of death with firm footsteps based of truth and faith. Thank You God. Amen”
-Pastor Doug Donigian
Stay in touch. Share your needs. Let us help. Amen.