Medical experts are reporting a significant rise in the percentage of Americans suffering from insomnia since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Under normal conditions, an estimated 30 to 35% of Americans suffer from sleep difficulties, but recent studies are showing the current number to be closer to 50%. This is understandable. Some of the obvious reasons include fear of contracting the disease, increased financial concerns, disruption of work or school schedules, feelings of isolation, and changes in daily routines.
The truth is, these days have been unpredictable and stressful for most of us. With that in mind, Psalm 4 caught my attention during my morning Bible reading. The setting of this particular Psalm is night time, when worries and anxious thoughts can easily keep us from sleep. The Psalm begins with a prayer and an affirmation but quickly gets to stressful circumstances that threaten to rob David of peace and sleep:
Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer! O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him. (Psalm 4:2-3 ESV)
Many believe this Psalm was written during his conflict with Absalom and forced evacuation from Jerusalem. Bottom line, David had many things that could easily keep him up at night. Despite this current crisis, David remembers that God has been faithful in delivering him in the past. He encourages the reader to do what he is doing. Trust in God and wait for his deliverance.
Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord.
David encourages us to reflect on what is bothering us and to choose to trust God with whatever is keeping us up at night. I love the way the Psalm ends:
There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!” You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
When I have trouble sleeping, I will often make a list of things that I am worrying about. As I look over the list, I often realize that there are things on my list over which I have no control. Why should I worry over what I don’t control anyway? I verbally tell God that I am giving my list to him and ask him to let me go to sleep. I have found this practice helpful. Sleep well, my friend.