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Archive for May 16, 2014

May 16

The Spiritual Consequences of Sleeplessness

2014 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Recommended Link

Who thinks about sleep?

We don’t think about it when we’re sleeping, and when we’re awake we’re thinking about other things most of the time. We think about it when we need it. But who really thinks about sleep past that? If sleep was important enough for God to build into his creation, and to give us day and night for a rhythm, presumably, for sleep, then sleep is worth thinking about. It’s worth thinking about because it’s worth doing right and it’s something for which we should give praise to God through proper stewardship and enjoyment.

On the spiritual dimension of getting enough sleep, Psalm 127:2 put’s it beautifully: “It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.” Along these lines, here are some words on the spiritual consequences of sleep from two productive men:

D.A. Carson:

Doubt may be fostered by sleep deprivation. If you keep burning the candle at both ends, sooner or later you will indulge in more and more mean cynicism—and the line between cynicism and doubt is a very thin one….If you are among those who become nasty, cynical, or even full of doubt when you are missing your sleep, you are morally obligated to try to get the sleep you need. We are whole, complicated beings; our physical existence is tied to our spiritual well-being, to our mental outlook, to our relationships with others, including our relationship with God. Sometimes the godliest thing you can do in the universe is get a good night’s sleep—not pray all night, but sleep. I’m certainly not denying that there may be a place for praying all night; I’m merely insisting that in the normal course of things, spiritual discipline obligates you get the sleep your body need. (Scandalous, 147)

John Piper:

Sleep is a daily reminder from God that we are not God. Once a day God sends us to bed like patients with a sickness. The sickness is a chronic tendency to think we are in control and that our work is indispensable. To cure us of this disease God turns us into helpless sacks of sand once a day. (“A Brief Theology of Sleep“)

For more resources on sleep, check out these links, but not if it’s past your bed time: