I lie awake thinking of you (v. 6, NLT).
When you can’t sleep at night, what do you do? Psalm 63 gives an answer.
Are we to take a Temazepam®, read our Kindle®, or perhaps get a 3 a.m. snack? King David wrote Psalm 63, and in this psalm, he explains his solution for lying awake at night.
David had been experiencing a series of sleepless nights. His son Absalom had usurped his throne, and he was running for his life in a wilderness area. He didn’t get mad at God or dwell in despair.
Instead, David wrote . . .
O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water (v. 1).
The wilderness surrounding Jerusalem (David’s hometown) was a desert. No water, no food, and either hot or cold, depending on the season. Yet David did not focus on the wilderness in which he found himself but on his previous experiences with God.
I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! (vv. 2-3)
About 30 percent of the population of the United States (all ages) has difficulty sleeping. That’s 70 million people. Interestingly, in the last 30 years, the wealth held by families has increased by 240 percent.
Living in a nice home with air conditioning and running water can’t solve the anxiety that keeps us awake at night.
But David describes how he found help for sleeplessness . . .
I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy (vv. 4-5).
Despite King David knowing God, praising God, and depending on God, he still had sleepless nights. We will all have sleepless nights. But David’s insomnia was temporary and not a lifetime struggle.
I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings (vv. 6-7).
David had a habit of letting his mind dwell on the Lord.
I’ve noticed that when I wake up at 3 a.m., my thoughts can spin out of control in anxiety. I too often turn a small worry into a lifetime crisis through my middle-of-the-night thought frenzy.
How about you?
I’ve learned a technique that helps me get back to sleep. I first read about this practice in Psalm 63 years ago. What is it?
I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely (v. 8).
I challenge you to cling to God during sleepless nights. Whenever I wake up at night, I immediately start my five-second prayers (see Interruptions #1048 and #1049).
I cast every thought upon the Lord during this meditation.
The way our sleep has been designed by God allows our predisposed thought patterns to magnify when we wake up in the middle of the night.
If we are people of praise — like King David, God will get bigger and overwhelm our difficulties, but if we are a worrywart, our anxieties will loom larger. Your middle-of-the-night thoughts reveal whether you are a praise person or a worrywart!
The good news is that we can become praise-oriented and find victory over anxiety at night by disciplining ourselves to praise God throughout the day!
Let’s follow the example of King David . . .
But the king will rejoice in God. All who swear to tell the truth will praise him, while lies will be silenced (v. 11, OGV).
When we do this, our middle-of-night-HHHHMMMHHM will become ZZZZZZZZZZ!