I like to know the direction I’m facing—the cardinal direction. If I’m facing north, I want to know it. If the road is headed mostly southwest, I want to know it. Sometimes when I travel, I awake in the middle of the night and don’t know which way I’m facing in the bed. It may be that I didn’t know when I went to sleep, or it may be that the strangeness of my surroundings confuses my normal sense of direction.
Whatever the reason, for me it is uncomfortable to wake up to directional disorientation. But how much more troubling is it to think I might wake up one day with a heart disorientation? Is it possible for me to lose my way while I sleep?
Have you ever wondered at the fact that you wake up believing in Christ? Have you considered the mercy of God in your first moments of the day, when your eyes open and your brain resumes its thinking function? How is it that even while we sleep, we don’t lose our bearings concerning Christ?
You are known by God
In Psalm 139, David is telling God how much He, being God, knows about him. It is a prayer couched in the confidence that the God who is, is the God who knows.
My Dad will sometimes “predict” how I will react to certain situations. Even now after I’ve been out of the house for quite a few years, there is a way that he knows me. I have begun collecting this knowledge of my children as well, observing their moods, activities, and attitudes. I know them, in some ways better than they know themselves.
God, however, is acquainted with every single one of your ways (v3)—when you get up and sit, he knows (v2), and he knows the words you will say before you speak (v4). In fact, before you were born, the days that you will live were written down and planned out for you (v16)! His information is not based on observation, but on his creation and formation of you.
There is comfort here too, in being known. When someone knows you, you can trust him. When they understand you, you can rest in their presence. The people you are most comfortable around are those who “get” you, who don’t operate on wrong assumptions, and who know you for who you really are. They love you.
The one who made you is the one who keeps you
After reveling in the fact that God saw his unformed substance (16), which is a description of a human embryo in its early stages, David says, “I awake, and I am still with you” (18). In whatever circumstance he found himself in, David had this confidence—that God was with him, even while he slept.
Have you ever felt guilty for falling asleep while praying? The other day, author and pastor Scott Sauls (@scottsauls) tweeted this encouragement, “Feel guilty falling asleep while praying? How do you feel when a child nods off in your lap? And how much more must your Heavenly Father feel about you when this happens? There. Feel better? You should!”
When children fall asleep in your lap, how much more are you ready to love them when they wake up? How do you care for them as they sleep there in your arms? Is there anything you wouldn’t do to protect them in their defenseless state of rest?
Because of Christ, the disposition of God toward the believer is intimately acquainted protective care. If Jesus died for you, will not his Father watch over you? Our mistake is to believe that we are somehow safer when we’re awake, when in reality, God is the one who keeps us in our waking and our sleeping. If you are in Christ, you will never wake up to find yourself out of him. Rest well in this.
For even more comfort, read Psalm 139 again for yourself!