How often it is in the watches of the night that the mind awakens with the burdens of the day. The body then stirs in response to the anxious things that run like light-footed braves through the wooded regions of the inner-man. By the time one arises from the blanketed trap that has held him captive during what should have been sleep, many apprehensions and fears are chewed upon like one would chew gristle between the teeth.
Kings must have nights like this. And so must would-be-kings. No small wonder then that David, somewhere in his life, penned Psalm 4. Sometimes reckoned as “The Evening Hymn,” this sonnet seems to prescribe a remedy for a restless night. Consider for a moment the simple beauty of verse 8, which reads,
In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
Lie down and sleep? In peace? Why could that be? Certainly the second stanza makes this plain. For you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. Which, of course, begs the all-critical question: have you entrusted to His safekeeping those things that weigh upon your being?
Entrusting to the Lord God of heaven and earth the matters of the heart and mind is key to realizing the peace God so much longs to give. “Peace I leave you; peace I give to you,” says Jesus in John 14:27. “I do not give as the world gives (it’s a good thing!). Do not let your heart be troubled, and do not be afraid!” Spurgeon states it this way, “They slumber sweetly whom faith rocks to sleep. No pillow so soft as a promise; no coverlet so warm as an assured interest in Christ.”
Before you go to bed tonight follow through on some sound advice. First, take a quiet moment and confess to the Lord those things that are consuming your mind’s attention. List them out for Him (you might write them down—David did, as in verse 2). Confide in Him that they are weighing on you, and that you would like for Him to deal with them. 1 Peter 5:7 helps you by inviting you to cast your anxieties upon Him, “because He cares for you.” Secondly, remind God that His is the day and that the night also belongs to Him. The Eternal God is in charge of the hours. Entrust them to Him, asking Him to help you rest. Claim the promise of Philippians 4:6-7, which tells you that when you give Him your anxieties His peace overcomes you.
And then choose to believe that your Lord will stand guard over you as you lie down and sleep. This means you not overlook the “I will” of verse 4: I will both lie down and sleep. Make the choice to give the haunting things to your heavenly Father. “I will trust you, Lord. . . .”
And then rest in His watchful care.