No, it’s not what you think!
I’m generally a good sleeper except on Saturday nights, when I often feel restless thinking about my sermon the next day.
As has been my custom for twelve years, I wake up at 4:00 on Sunday mornings. After stopping to pick up doughnuts (for the congregation), I arrive at the church around 5:30. I rehearse and revise my sermon manuscript and do whatever else needs to be done to get ready for worship.
The trouble is, unless I’m in bed early on Saturday nights—which rarely happens any night of the week—I’m often struck with that sinking feeling: “Now you’ve only got four hours of sleep available… Now you’ve only got three-and-a-half,” etc. You probably know that feeling.
It happened again last Saturday night. I was on the verge of panic.
But then I told myself—in all seriousness—”Brent, if the Lord wants you to sleep these next few hours, you’ll sleep. If not, you’ll just lie here and rest. Maybe he has something to tell you while you lie here. But either way, he’ll make sure you’ll have what you need to preach his Word tomorrow.” And then I prayed words to that effect and felt relieved. Almost immediately I drifted off.
My point is not to prescribe a new “faith-based” treatment for insomnia; it’s to say that this was an all-too-rare moment of practicing what I preach. I believe in God’s sovereignty and providential care—even over little things, like sleep. God is in control. God is looking out for me. The weight of the world is not on my shoulders.
C.S. Lewis, more than anyone, is responsible for helping me see the light about this doctrine. But I thought of John Piper because, you know, he’s famous for preaching that message.
(By the way, my fellow Methodists, you don’t have to be among the “Young, Restless, and Reformed” to appreciate that Piper is an excellent preacher.)