One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.”
- Psalm 27:4-5
I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
- 1 Corinthians 15:50-57
“My daughter Sara had a friend over to spend the night recently. There was no school the next day, so we let the two of them stay up as late as they wanted. A bedtime reprieve for a couple of seven—year—olds is like freeing a convict from death row. The two outlasted me. I was dozing in my chair when I awoke and realized it was nearly midnight and they were still awake. ‘All right, girls,’ I informed them, ‘we better go to bed.’ Groaning the entire time, they changed clothes, brushed their teeth, and climbed in the sack. That’s when our little guest asked to call her mom. At first we declined, but then the chin trembled and the eyes misted, and, knowing we were moments away from an explosion, we gave her the phone.
“I could envision what was happening on the other end of the line—a phone ringing in the dark, a mom reaching over the slumbering husband to grab the receiver.
“The little girl didn’t even say hello. ‘Mommy, I want to come home.’ With a teddy bear in one hand and the phone in the other, she pleaded her case. She was afraid of waking up in a strange room. This wasn’t her house. She wanted her bed, her pillow and most of all, her mommy.
“I can’t blame her. When I travel, the hardest part of the trip is going to sleep. The pillow never feels right, the sheets are too . . . too stiff? Besides, who knows who slept here last night. The curtains never block the flashing neon light outside the window. I need to get up early, but can I trust the operator to remember the wake—up call? After all, there was that night in Boise when no one called me and . . . off go my thoughts, covering every issue from Denalyn’s doctor visit to tomorrow’s flight to next spring’s income tax. I’d call home, but it’s too late. I’d go for a walk, but I might get mugged. I’d order room service, but I already have. I’d go home but, well. I’m supposed to be a grown man. Finally, I sit up in bed and flip on the TV and watch Sports Center until my eyes burn, then eventually doze off.
- Max Lucado, The Great House of God
The book was published in 1997, so I am sure Sara may have already experienced that with her own children by now.
The Lucado book is on the Lord’s Prayer, doing for the Lord’s prayer line-by-line what 3:16 did for John 3:16, word-by-word. I hope to return to the book in a series of articles on the Lord’s prayer.
Odd how yesterday’s article was on not saying set prayers while this quote is from a book about the Lord’s prayer, but this quote is about a little girl who had separation anxiety. I can identify with both the little girl and with Max Lucado.
When I was little, up until I was about ten years old, I tried sleeping at my grandmother’s house in town or my grandmother’s house next door (being farmhouses – about a half mile away). The occasion was always cousins visiting. I would always have that midnight meltdown and have to go home. When my parents were along on the trip, I never had any problems. But when I was ten, my cousins from Wyoming visited while we lived in southern Mississippi. My uncle suggested that I go with him and his children to the farm to visit the grandparents, more than a three-hour drive away. I agreed, but my mother explained my past history. Along the way, my uncle talked to me about how impossible it would be for me to go home at midnight. Praise the Lord, that night was a night of clear skies. My bed was next to the window. I watched the stars and the moon, focusing on them until sleep overtook me well into the night. I never had that problem again.
It was strange. My mother was never a touchy-feely person. She never provided comfort, but I had a problem being separated, even when I was not separated from my favorite teddy bear. But my uncle was wise. He knew what to say so that I rationally understood the situation, and my mind remained in the rational mode all that night.
Later in life, it was the loud music from the apartment next door, or hotel room, that kept me awake. I had all those fears that Max Lucado had, although my only night in Boise, Idaho was a delightful night of blissful sleep. But if someone is snoring, I am awake, and my wife snores. She could wake the neighbors years ago, but now she only snores occasionally, when I absolutely need a good night’s sleep. I have driven for 8-10 hours on one hour of sleep the night before.
I have written about travelling overseas. I cannot sleep on the plane, so I sleep well the first night or two in Asia or Europe, especially Asia when I have not slept for about 36 hours when I finally go to bed.
But insomnia has been my demon most of my life. What Max Lucado says about your mind starting on one little thing and then another until you are obsessing about things that you have no control over, especially when you are hours of travel from home.
I used to try to sleep in front of a log fire. I would watch the fire dance while I dreamed of a novel that I wanted to write in my head. The next morning, I would be kicking myself that I could not remember all the good things I had thought of for the novel. But I slept. And the novel never got written.
But what I have found in life is that you sleep better at home. Max Lucado titled the chapter that started with the quoted story above as “Home is where the Heart is.” You have your pillow, your mattress, your linens on the bed. You have the same road noises, and the streetlights, if any, are in the same place.
Max Lucado described Heaven in the chapter, not with detail, but he described Heaven as the one place where we will feel at home, more than any home that we have here on earth. But since there will be no night because God is with us, being our Light, there will no longer be the need to sleep. Our insomnia worries will be over. We will have an ever-abundant supply of energy.
Home in Heaven will be where our Heart always yearns to be while here on earth.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.