Sleepy reflections on Star Trek and sovereignty
I had finished watching the latest episode of Star Trek: Voyager, or so I thought. I woke up and realized that Amazon Prime had kept playing shows. The plot I woke to was vastly different than the one I apparently fell asleep watching, and it took a few moments of groggy logic to piece together why it made no sense to me.
I turned off the TV and sat there in the lamplight for a moment. I realized it was a quiet moment of simplicity. Suddenly I was flooded with gratitude. Not that watching Star Trek is all that sublime (when you throw in candy corn and peanuts, it gets more so), but stillness invited reflection, and I began to praise God.
If you’re not a Christian, you may be tempted to tune out and click away, but hang on for one second. Let me explain.
A kairos of chaos
The days in which we are now living are difficult. Polarizing. Angry. Scary. Confusing. Humanity has had other times of upheaval as worldviews and philosophies seem to collide and derail like runaway trains. We are living in another time like this. “Kairosmeans “the right time” from Ancient Greek; kairos variously refers to an “opportune presentation” in rhetoric and a “spiritual opportunity” in Christian theology.” This season of turmoil we now live in will not be indefinite, though it feels like it. The ancient proverb “this too shall pass” is a needed reminder. Those of us who hoped for a speedy return to pre-2020 living may be disappointed if we cling too tightly to the past.
Just get to bed
Some days the most spiritual thing we can do in light of exhaustion and confusion is simply to get to bed. Lie down. Surrender. Sleep is a mysterious, beautiful gift. Our willingness to trade our conscious living for unconscious and uncontrolled sleep is a moment where we admit we have limits, that we must stop.
That evening as I sat there in the lamplight, I resolved that I want to be able to collapse into bed at night reflecting in tired gratitude on God’s goodness to me. He is sovereign. He knows. He loves. I am grateful that He designed me to need sleep. There is a certain scalp-tingling amazement that dawns when you can “close the book” on a day. No matter the intensity, the disappointments, discouragements, fights, bad news or personal attacks, the gift of sleep renders all issues moot. It’s like we can unplug. For that, I am beyond grateful.
The new morning brings with it new mercies from God. How profound it is that one of scriptures most cherished verses is given to us in a book full of lament.
“Because of the LORD’s faithful love
we do not perish,
for his mercies never end.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness!” (Lamentations 3:23)
Sleep is a gift that reminds us that while we’re not in control, God is, and He can be trusted not only with our unconscious selves and vulnerable sleeping bodies, but He can be trusted with our days, our moments, and our problems, both perceived and piercing.
Another example struck me that evening as I looked up “sleep” on my Bible app. I was led to the account of King David and his son Absalom. It was a nightmarish situation. (2 Samuel 15-17) Essentially, Absalom attempted to overthrow his father, the king. It got so bad that David had to flee Jerusalem with his royal retinue. In the middle of all this, the renowned Psalmist wrote some hard-to-believe, centering words about trusting God and sleep:
“I lie down and sleep;
I wake again because the LORD sustains me.” (Psalm 3.5)
So no matter the day or its intensity, I want to relearn the discipline of sleepy blessing. I want recount to the Lord my awareness of His goodness. In this way, I can close the book well on that day and leave through the day’s events in His hands. And in this way, I can surrender to the strange gift of sleep and rest unaware of how God is working while I sleep to prepare for me new mercies on the morrow.