How are you sleeping these days? Are you making it through the night? 98% of Americans have developed new sleep patterns since the pandemic started. 68% find it harder to sleep due to stress even after lockdowns were lifted. 67% report that they slept more before the pandemic.
We aren’t sleeping well. Are you?
There are things that keep us up at night…much of the time that is because our brains our working over-time and they work over time because of worry, anxiety, doubt, dismay, dread, panic, uneasiness and probably the biggest one that encompasses them all is: FEAR.
We can’t sleep because we are AFRAID of what is going to happen in our relationships, our finances, our church, our health, our school, our jobs and on and on the list goes.
It’s in the darkness of those times where it feels like we are most distant from God, isn’t it?
- Like when the anxiety is raging, there is no peace of God in that moment…how can God be in this?
- When the despair of mourning is so intense we feel like God is definitely not present in this darkened part of the soul.
- When the bits of life that make life enjoyable all fall apart, it certainly feels like God is not in that place.
- That is one of the most lonely feelings we can have, especially if it happens to occur at night while everyone else is sleeping.
And yet, these are precisely the places where God tends to show up. These are the environment where redemption happens. These are the places where we see that resurrection is possible.
You know, one of the best parts of the Christian faith is the with-ness of it. You heard me correctly. The with-ness of our faith. We talk about our witness and we ask if we can get a witness, but one of the best things is the WITH-ness of our faith.
One of the names of Jesus we don’t even usually talk about until Advent is Immanuel – God with us. Over and over in scripture we see the promise of God to be WITH us in the most difficult of circumstances.
But there is one WITHNESS story that pretty much everyone knows whether you were have been a part of the church for a long time or not, you know this story: David and Goliath 1 Samuel 17.
You know the story – young shepherd boy with a bunch of older brothers who are off at war and his dad sends him with some bread and grain to take to the soldiers. So David goes and while he is there this giant man, Goliath is taunting the Israelites, saying that they were no match for him and defying the armies of God.
David hears this and 100% believes that this Goliath is no match for God and that he himself is just the man to defeat Goliath. David says, ‘The Lord will deliver me from the hand of the Philistine. And then here’s the big line: King Saul responds with, “Go and the Lord be with you.”
After that you know what happens right? David tries on the king’s armor before he goes out and it was just too much for him, he couldn’t bear all that armor. So he sheds all that stuff and goes out to the battle field to meet Goliath.
On the way he picks up 5 smooth stones from the brook put them in his shepherd’s pouch and had his sling in his hand. And here we see 3 Things That Keep You Up at Night
Feelings of Unworthiness
1 Samuel 17:41-49
41 And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. 42 And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance. 43 And the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.
Isn’t that a little bit what you hear when you are in that moment of fear or anxiety or depression? You hear that you are worthless, you feel disdained, disrespected. Goliath certainly had no respect for David whatsoever. “Am I a dog that you come to me with sticks.”
When you lay awake at night…sometimes you start rehearsing in your mind all of the hurts, all the slights, all the difficult moments of your past. All the disrespect, all the things people did or said that hurt you. Not to mention all the hurts you caused, all the cringy moments, all the things you wish you could take back.
All those things can come rolling out and it’s such a lonely feeling.
44 The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.”
This is an existential threat! Goliath is threatening David’s life! Sometimes when you lay awake at night, you feel threatened…like, “I don’t know how I’m going to make it through this situation I’m in.” Or, “I don’t know how this is going to work out!”
We don’t have enough money to make it to the end of the month. We don’t have enough relational capital to turn this loved one around. This job is going to end and I don’t think I’m going to make it. These things add up and threaten our existence and it keeps us from sleeping at night.
A Scorecard of Everything Stacked Against You
45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin,
Have you ever laid awake and night and start keeping score? You start adding up all the things that are against you. You just take stock of everything that is going wrong: Let’s see, I burned myself on the iron, spilled my cereal, running late to work when the dog pooped on the floor, then a flat tire on the way, and now I just sneezed and I either have allergies or Coronavirus, my kid forgot their lunch, I was denied for my raise, lost the house I was bidding on, late to pick up my kid from practice, burned dinner and now the mower won’t start. The whole world is stacked against me!!!
Now that’s a bad day! But honestly, it’s not atypical…it’s life, but we start keeping score about everything that is stacked against us and honestly, it can keep us up at night.
Even David looked at the odds stacked against him – You come at me with sword and spear and a javelin – not to mention he’s a giant with a shield!
It’s not looking good for David against this giant with all this weaponry. But this is where David makes a change, this where he flips the script. This is where the change happens, David says:
One Important Thing to Remember: God is WITH YOU!
…but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.
David’s earthly reality never changed in this whole story
He was a nobody, a small of stature young boy…he didn’t belong out there, he was just delivering bread!
He had literally no weaponry, no armor, no protection…he didn’t have the right tools to be out there.
He had no experience with this type of fighting…he didn’t have the right skills to be out there.
He was up against a far superior foe…Goliath was huge and had armor for protection and he had massive weapons…David didn’t belong on the same field as Goliath.
But David didn’t live in the earthly reality. David lived the Kingdom reality where he KNEW that God was “with him.”
Look your earthly reality of the reasons that you are awake at night may never change…
You may always be under employed,
You may have relational struggles for the rest of your life,
You might always battle your addictions,
You might wrestle with things you’ve done and things that have been done to you,
You might have all the things go wrong in a single day that can possibly go wrong in a single day,
But when you live in kingdom hope, kingdom purpose, kingdom reality, then you will KNOW that God is “WITH YOU.”
You might still lay awake at night thinking about all those things, but in those lonely moments you must remember that God is WITH YOU.
David’s WITNESS, was God’s WITHNESS and it made a bread delivery boy into a man who delivered a nation.
I don’t know what God has in store for you, but He wants to deliver you, he can deliver you because he is WITH YOU.
In the darkest of moments, the loneliest of places, the difficult circumstances, God is WITH YOU.
You might not even feel like you belong on this earth, don’t take that into your own hands, God is WITH YOU.
You might not feel like you are worthy, God is WITH YOU.
You might feel like everything is against you, God is WITH YOU.
Jesus told his disciples to at the end of his earthly ministry in Matthew 28:20, “And behold I am WITH YOU always, even to the end of the age.”
If you believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior, then Jesus is with you. Always. Forever.
You might feel lonely and discouraged and depressed, but Jesus is with you.
Your witness is God’s withness…he is WITH YOU.
This Sunday we are going to talk about something a lot people are going through right now that’s keeping them up at night…anger, in particular, anger with God! Check it out here at 10:30am on Sunday, October 17: https://youtu.be/KoTWMo6Yo-w