28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Yahweh is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the whole earth.
He never grows faint or weary;
there is no limit to His understanding.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and strengthens the powerless.
(Isaiah 40:28-29, Holman Christian Standard Bible)
When I was in the Navy, we were at sea on exercises and the signal bridge personnel were divided into two sections and we worked from “chow to chow.” That meant one group worked from breakfast to lunch and from dinner to midrats (Midrats was a midnight meal for those who would be on watch overnight). The other group worked the opposite schedule. I was in the opposite group, working from lunch to dinner and midrats to breakfast.
That would have been OK except we had general quarters (battle stations) drills every morning and evening for about four days. The guys in my watch section were getting about two hours of sleep per night. By the end of the fourth day, I had never been so tired in my life. I still have not matched it.
I have learned about something new in the last few years. It is called “microsleep.” Microsleep refers to periods of sleep that last from a few to several seconds. People who experience these episodes may doze off without realizing it. Some may have an episode in the middle of performing an important task. It can occur anywhere, such as at work, at school, or while watching TV. (www.healthline.com/health/microsleep)
Last week, because of the death of my brother-in-law, Cindy and I traveled to my Mom’s on Monday. We were just trying to get through the evening without falling asleep. When Cindy and my mom went to bed, my bouts of sleepiness were gone and I stayed up to get but staying some work done in the quiet (the big reason I like working at night) I worked on things until about 3:00 AM each morning had I slept longer that might have been OK but I was up again by seven.
I have learned the hard way that if you go too long without sleep, your body will make sure you get some. The results can be just passing out or instances of microsleep. In my Navy days I could do that. I can’t get away with that any more.
Still, there are times when I just can’t sleep. Those can be frustrating. To make it worse, dragging through the day you think “I will sleep tonight.” But at times, I still can’t go to sleep.
On our trip, on Friday night before the funeral, I had to get last minute things to pack done before we went to the cemetery the next morning. I needed to finish my Sunday morning sermon. When I finished it the only thing I could say about it was, “So what. What is your point Keith?” That means there is more work to do. Then I needed to proof-read Saturday sermon for the funeral and get everything from my laptop to my tablet. I was tired when I started and I never did make it to bed.
Some of you might think back on a few posts where what I was saying made absolutely no sense what so ever. I put those on auto-post and thought they were fine. They weren’t. If you tried to work your way through one of those, my apologies. I have learned not to post late night or wee-hours of the morning writing until the next day so I can proof-read.
I am at a point in my life where I know I need more rest than I used to. When things go wrong, and they can begin to go wrong quickly and then snowball into a huge problem no one ever intended.
In the end, I was exhausted. I still am, but there is another sermon to work on. Sunday’s coming. There us always something else coming and if we are not careful, we might disappear for a while.
I have grown to appreciate the words above from Isaiah 40. In particular, I like verse 29. “He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless.” I can say with full confidence that God has given me strength to me when I was weary. But these days, I am also learning that I have to do my part. If I am determined to push my way through times when I am exhausted and not let myself sleep when I really need it, God is likely to not bail me out. And, at creation, God put some rules into effect. One of those is, for the human body to function properly, we need rest. To get that rest, we must put ourselves in the position for rest to come. It doesn’t mean it always will, but if we try to push through we probably won’t get what we really need.
I love the last verse of Isaiah 40 even though I didn’t include it in the lesson for today. From the Keith paraphrase version, “If you will wait for God, resting while you wait, God will renew your strength so you can, like an eagle take flight. Because they are running in God’s strength they won’t get tired when they run. They will walk and fatigue will not overcome them.” But, I argue it begins when we do our part, by getting the rest our bodies need.
Seeking the Genuine,
Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved