Little kids and sleep is a really tricky combination. There are times when I fight like crazy to keep them awake so I won’t have to fight like crazy to make them go to bed that night. There are nights when they just pass out in my arms and there are nights when the whole bedtime routine is an exhausting battle of wits and wills. From what I can tell, most parents who boast about how great their kids sleep are lying…the bags under your eyes and venti coffee in your hand is what gives it away, in case you’re wondering!
Yet, there’s something about little kids sleeping that is so captivating to our adult minds and souls. It’s not what keeps them up at night. It’s what doesn’t keep them up at night…stress and worry. Our amazement is compounded by how truly powerless they are. There they lay, no ability to take care of themselves, no clue what tomorrow will bring, no control over even the smallest aspect of their days. Yet, it doesn’t seem to bother them at all.
We, on the other hand, are experts at laying awake. The more powerless we feel, the more sleep we lose. And let’s be honest, there are a lot of situations in our lives that make us feel powerless: our health, a wayward child, the status of a relationship. All to often, we feel powerless at work, powerless over our future, even powerless over the direction our country is taking. Power feels like it belongs to someone else – teachers, professors, bosses, shareholders, politicians, whoever…just not us.
If you’re tracking with me, I want you to know there’s hope. It comes from a Persian King named Ahasuerus in the Book of Esther. We’ve been talking a lot about him at Restoration City the last couple of weeks and he’s helping me sleep better. In the world’s eyes, Ahasuerus was a really big deal. He ran the Persian Empire, which stretched from Ethiopia to India in those days. The whole thing was massive – 127 provinces worth of massive. And Ahasuerus was a fool. This political giant was comically inept. He enters the story as a drunken mess and things only get worse from there. The man can’t make a decision to save his life, even when it comes to his own family. He gets suckered into exterminating the Jews for a cheap bribe and then changes his mind because of two good meals and the possibility of sex. Yes, he takes out a guy who seems to be threatening his wife but even that feels more like “don’t play with my toys” than “I’ll fight for her honor.” The guy is a clown. Yet, God uses him for his purposes.
There are some obvious parallels to our world (insert Election 2016 commentary on comically inept political giants). But that isn’t the only link. It also has to do with our jobs, our relationships and our finances. It has to do with the powerless places in our lives. The places that keep us up at night with stress and worry.
The Bible doesn’t try to talk us out of that feeling of powerlessness. In fact, the Bible helps us see that we’re all more powerless than we imagined. But it does hold out the promise that all of life is playing out under the watchful eye of the Almighty. God was working through the King of Persia to accomplish His will. Guess what? He’s doing the same thing through your boss/landlord/professor. Yes, even the clueless one who seems intent on doing you harm.
We lay awake at night because we’re terrified we don’t have what it takes. Yet, our kids sleep just fine knowing they don’t have what it takes. Their hope and security is in the power of another. So is ours. His name is Jesus and He holds everything together by the power of His will. Nothing can separate you from His love. He holds the world in His hands and He’s moving His plans and purposes forward. Trust Him. He won’t let you down. And He just might help you sleep through the night.