The other night saw me on the tennis court for the first time in many years, and while I certainly lack the stamina to play at the top of my game, my instincts, strong desire to win and a whole lot of luck had me walking away defeated, yet satisfied and longing for more.
The other morning had me again waking up without the aid of an alarm clock (the result of a 9 AM start time at work) and my eyes opening with the hope and excitement of a new day, and the rested satisfaction of a night well-slept.
As long as it had been since I’d stepped out onto a tennis court it had been even longer since I’d been able to string together consecutive nights of quality sleep, let alone successive weeks of sweet, sweet slumber.
Over the years I’d tried everything from acupuncture to prescription sleep medicine, to herbal remedies and pretty much everything you can think of with very limited success. I sought medical advice, which yielded the odd suggestion that I get a different clock for my nightstand, the rationale being that my brain was so accustomed to the glow of my old clock that it was now transfixed and simply unable to get to the proper REM cycle each night. I did try a different clock, and if anything I got even less sleep as a result.
The medicine was the worst of all, as it gave me horrific dreams and made me queasy.
In summary: New glowing clock, plus dreams of a robotic Benjamin Franklin chasing me down Torrance Boulevard along with painful queasiness was not considered a sleep success story.
My new work schedule kicked-in fairly recently, and while going into the office at 9 in the morning was not initially something I desired it has clearly been life-changing. I’ve always been a 7-4 or 8-5 kind of work guy, but the demands of this new job dictated a change and it really has worked out well for me in many ways. I get to spend some quality time with the family in the morning, helping to prepare lunches for the kids, eating breakfast with them and then praying before they head off to school with Samantha.
Prayer. Don’t ever doubt its power.
Not only is prayer an awesome opportunity for us to communicate with the Creator of all things in the name of Jesus Christ, it is also our chance to pray for others who are hurting or in need, and of course it is the forum for us to bring our needs to the Lord.
Through faith we come and we ask, and our God – who already knows what we have need of – answers. Always. Sometimes the answer is no, and many times it is a delayed yes, and more times than not is the wonderfully unexpected and glorious response, but the bottom line is that He is always faithful to deliver. The Bible tells us in Matthew 7 that if we ask it will be given and if we seek we will find – if we knock it will be opened to us.
And the responses are always for our good and God’s glory.
Our Life Group has been instrumental in supporting our family through a difficult time of change. We joined the group last year around this time as I was transitioning out of a job that I’d had for a very long time and about to endure a summer of delightful uncertainty, as I loved every moment of precious time off with family, while frantically interviewing for multiple job opportunities. They listened to our concerns, prayed for us in times of doubt and frustration, and during an especially difficult time supported us with amazingly generous gifts that allowed us to secure groceries for the family and fuel for our vehicles.
Most recently, when I was at my wit’s end when it came to sleep deprivation I tearfully confessed my issue to the group and they blanketed me in prayer. Now I had been at my new job for a good long while at this point and been working the 9 AM shift for a month when on this particular Tuesday night I just laid-out my issues. I told them about the glowing clock and the various remedies that hadn’t yielded much relief. The new work schedule had not changed anything to this point, and the group just started praying for me – that night and in the days that followed.
The results have been nothing short of miraculous.
You have to know that I have been having sleep problems for nearly 15 years and within 72 hours of my friends praying for me I caught a serious seven hours of straight sleep one night. And then the same thing happened the next night, and the next and the next and pretty much every night since that amazing evening. You have to understand that on most nights I would be lucky to string together three consecutive hours of sleep, so this was nothing short of a miracle.
Genesis 18 poses the question: “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Clearly, the answer is a resounding “No!”
Not being able to sleep is an illness for which there is no clear-cut solution. Diet, exercise, hydration, lighting, room temperature, etc. have all been discussed as issues that aid or disrupt, but something that never enters the discussion is faith. Chapter five in the Book of James talks of the prayer of faith saving one who is sick, and that the prayers of a righteous person having great power. I am convinced that the wonderful prayers from a small group of caring, loving, righteous people completely cured me of my sleeping disorder, and for that I am forever grateful.
In return, my pledge is to be praying for you, reader.
Some of you I know and most of you I do not, but I know that we live in a fallen and hurting world so I am praying for marriages, healed relationships, good health, finances and most importantly, that those who do not currently have a right relationship with Jesus Christ recognize that the trappings of this world are fleeting and that we have a Father in Heaven who loves us and desires that we cry out to Him and commit our lives to Him.
People who I didn’t even know a year ago lovingly and honestly embraced me and my troubles. They cared for me, provided for my family and prayed for me in difficult times of need and God both heard and responded to those requests. I am a blessed and changed man as a result. Thanks and glory be to God.
Let me know how I can be praying for you.