Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sleep, Glorious Sleep-Devotional

A bit out of order with the vote, but I know who voted for the Sabbath one. This one I want to post because it's a lighter fare and the Sabbath requires me to put on my theology hat. You know the one that every parent has when their child asks them some profound question. Anyways...

There are a couple of Bible verses that as a sleep deprived mom I think about.

Mark 4:37-41
A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he [Jesus] was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" The the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them "Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?" And they were filled with great awe and said to one another "Who then is this that even the wind and the sea obey him?"

First of all, I think this is the one verse in the Bible where it talks about Jesus being asleep. I know everyone sings the Christmas carol "Away in a Manger" and one of the lines says "the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay." But no where in Luke or Matthew does it say Jesus was asleep. I suppose you could assume that's why he was in the manger, but I think it's because of this 1) Joseph was a strict Jew. Men couldn't touch a woman for so many days after the birth nor could a man who wanted to remain clean touch the child. So there's no way you'd catch Joseph holding the baby Jesus after his birth. 2) Mary just had a baby. I imagine she wanted to set the baby down and since they were in basically the barn I'm betting the floor wasn't a clean place, but the food trough was. So theoretically Jesus could have been put there not because he was asleep, but because Mary was tired and Joseph wasn't going to hold the baby. But I'm getting off track...

I notice the verse in Mark because it is so parental in nature. I read it in a slightly different way. A mom or dad is asleep and suddenly something happens in the middle of the night that scares them. Maybe they think there's a monster in the closet (when really it's the cat knocked some toys off a shelf or something). The children all panic and immediately go wake up Mom and Dad. Mom and Dad groggy put things back in order and look at the children like "aren't you old enough to be able to handle this? I promise there are no monsters in the closet." Then the children look amazed and think to themselves, "Wow, Mom and Dad can even make the monsters disappear." In my mind, Jesus, our loving father, went back to sleep after he calmed the storm. He probably smiled that gentle parent smile and shook his head. His children didn't seem to get that there was no reason to worry because he could do anything. He created the storms and sea and the wind. But his silly child-like disciples were just amazed. He was amazed that they didn't get how powerful he was.

The next passages are found in Mark and Matthew.

Matthew 26:40 Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Petter, "So could you not stay awake with me one hour?"
Matthew 26: 43 Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy.
Matthew 26: 45 Then he came to the disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and taking your rest?...."

Not only did Jesus's silly child-like disciples not understand him fully, but they couldn't seem to stay awake long enough to pray for him through the middle of the night. I fully understand that he needed him during this struggle of his. But as soon as he would go see what they were up to, they fell asleep.

This reminds me a bit of my husband and me. It's the middle of the night. The diaper has leaked, I'm tired, and I'm forced to change the sheets and HB's pjs. HB is tired. He just wants to go back to sleep so he screams while I perform the task. My husband manages to sleep through the whole ordeal or ignores it until I hear him go to the bathroom. One night he opened the door and asked me if I had heard the baby crying or had I slept through it. Granted the trial of changing wet clothes is nothing compared to knowing your best friend is about to turn you in and have you killed when you haven't committed a crime. But I'm sure there are a few moms out there during the newborn days that gave their husband or any other "helpful" relatives the beady eye because when they were needed the most, they found them curled up asleep. I can only imagine how devastated and perhaps a little angry Jesus felt. He was clearly upset and his best friends had fallen asleep on him. I love how gentle he was about the whole thing after he had discovered that they were asleep for the second time. I imagine there have been a few moms that simply shrugged, covered their husband with a blanket, and waited to give them the stink eye in the morning. Jesus is a lot nicer. He woke up the disciples and told them that he was about to be arrested. No stink eye necessary. I bet they felt guilty enough after that.

But really it's not about the guilt. It's about the feeling that when you need someone the most they let you down. I suppose Jesus understands that feeling best of all.

So as a Mom, I understand more about Jesus. He couldn't understand why his disciples were getting upset over a little storm nor could he understand why they couldn't stay awake to be there for him in his hour of need.

Speaking of sleep...I should get ready for bed. Night!


  1. :) Oh sleep! My 19-month old has decided she is HUNGRY and THIRSTY 3 times a night...not easy...trying to offer it up

  2. Sleeeeeep... My prob is I just got to bed too late last night. And was worried about Z's stuffiness :-( Interesting post though!


I love to read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!