Wednesday, February 12, 2014

You Can Sleep When You're Dead!

This has been a tough week for me to get some sleep. Monday morning, one of my sons decided to set his alarm for 6:30 am, which isn't a problem. The problem is he somehow moved his clock ahead 2 hours. So when his alarm went off at 4:30 am I was the only one in the house that heard it and was tasked with the responsibility of turning it off. Fast forward to this morning. Since our dog freed himself from his dog-run at 4:00 am, he decided that the trees in our neighbor's yard need to be incessantly barked at...from right outside my bedroom window. Again no one in my house heard anything and I was left to go wrangle the dog and hook him back up. Needless to say if you've seen me this week I've probably looked like one of the zombies mentioned in Monday's blog post. The reason being I am not one who can wake up for stuff like this and then magically lay down and fall right back to sleep. When my brain is awakened then it goes from 0-60 mph in the time it takes me to put my feet on the floor and it doesn't slow down until about 9:00 pm. Weeks like this seem to wear a person out quicker but I am also reminded of the old saying "You can sleep when you're dead!"

One great thing about our walk with Christ is that when we are tired, we are promised the strength to continue on. Whether we are run down physically, emotionally, spiritually or psychologically we still have a promise from God that He will strengthen us. There are two great verses in the Bible that speak to the strength God promises to provide us with. 

From the Old Testament we read Isaiah 40:29-31 where it says "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint" (NIV). This is a great picture of how God promises to strengthen us when we are weak. This image of a majestic eagle flying is a refreshing and invigorating thought for those who may be running on fumes. The promise that God will renew our strength is key. The reason is because of where the strength comes from. Every self-help book and motivational speaker will have you think you can renew your strength if you just believe in your self. The truth is that your strength to endure this life will only come from God.

From the New Testament we read Philippians 4:13 where it says "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (NKJV). Again this reminds us that we can do everything we need to in this life. We can endure the loss of a job or the loss of a loved one. We can endure the heartache that comes along with our children falling from the path they know they should follow. We can "do all things" because of the strength we receive from God through Christ. When we have a relationship with Christ we are strengthened by Him for each day we face. We have to rely on that strength when the difficult times come but the promise is that it will be there.

God doesn't want you to give up under the stresses and burdens of this life. He doesn't want you to allow this world to beat you down and wear you out. What He does want is for you to rely on Him and for you to allow Him to strengthen you. So yes, you can sleep when you're dead but if you rely on God now, you won't need as much sleep as you thought!

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  1. As an Advent Christian, we believe in what some call soul sleep instead of immediately entering heaven or hell (waiting on the judgement day), so I'm rather curious about the origins of that "old saying" you referenced (and others like R.I.P. ).

  2. Jonathan, Good to hear from you. Long time no see. R.I.P. was originally a Catholic blessing that was inscribed on tombstones wishing the deceased person rest in the afterlife. It is an acronym of a Latin phrase. It finds its roots in Isaiah 57:2. As far as the title of the blog and the quote referenced, it was a quote by Benjamin Franklin. He said "There will be plenty of time to sleep once you are dead." I don't know the origin of it other than Franklin's quote. He was raised a Puritan and later in life confirmed he was a Deist and referred to himself as a Christian. If it is a reflection of his beliefs, I'm not sure.

    When it comes to the idea of soul sleep, I've read some on it in the past. I know there are Christian denominations, such as Adventist, that believe in it. As Baptist, that is not a doctrinal teaching that we hold to because of certain biblical text. One particular text is 2 Corinthians 5:8 where Paul writes "We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord" (NIV). We interpret this to teach that when the believer dies they enter directly into the presence of God. I realize, too, that there are scriptures that could be interpreted as implying soul sleep (1 Corinthians 15:51). In the end it boils down to the interpretation of the scriptures by the individual and their denominational teachings. I always enjoy a good theological discussion, so if you could shed some light on your views or denominational teachings about soul sleep I'd be interested to hear (or actually read) them.