09/23/16 Sleeping

READING: Obadiah 1; Jonah 1-4

I don’t sleep well in general. I want to sleep soundly, but my body and my mind sometimes say otherwise. My body forces me to get up in the middle of the night, and my continually-thinking mind has no sense of the time of day. I can’t remember the last time I slept soundly through the night. That’s one reason that stories of people sleeping well catch my attention. 

The story of Jonah is one of those stories. He was a fleeing prophet, running from the task of preaching judgment to his enemies. He knew who God was — “a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love” (Obad 4:2) — and he did not want God to forgive the Ninevites. What most strikes me is the fact that Jonah was able to sleep “a deep sleep” (Jonah 1:5) even when a God-sent storm rocked the ship in which he rested. He was fully disobedient to God, and yet he slept well. I do not understand how a man in deliberate rebellion against God can still rest as Jonah did, but it happens.   

And then I think of Jesus sleeping in the boat when the roaring storm frightened even the seasoned fishermen who were His disciples (Mark 4:35-41). They questioned whether Jesus cared, assuming wrongly that His sleeping was a sign of His unconcern. It was hardly that, however; Jesus slept because He was tired while being directly in the center of His Father’s will. He wasn’t worried about the waves, because He made them. The wind didn’t alarm Him, for the winds moved at His command. His sleep must have been deep, with nothing blocking His relationship with the Father. That kind of sleep I do understand, and I wish I could experience it more. 

Jonah slept in disobedience; Jesus slept in obedience. The former is deeply alarming, and the latter is resoundingly sweet. Both, frankly, are amazing. It’s amazing when we can rest in rebellion, and it’s amazing when we can rest in His arms. Which are you doing today?  


  • If you are sleeping in disobedience today, be aware that God can do whatever He wishes to wake you up. Turn back to Him.      
  • If your rest is sweet because you’re walking with God, thank Him for that gift. 

PRAYER: “Lord, if I sleep well tonight, let it be because I sleep confidently in Your care.”