When I was younger, the evidence needed to determine what kind of night’s sleep I had was in the sheets. If the sheets lay flat, it was probably an indication of a good night’s rest. Yet, if blankets had fallen to the floor and my sheets had come un-tucked, it was a good sign that my night was filled with nightmares or wild, crazy dreams. Making my bed was always more difficult if the sheets and blankets had been strewn around the room and as a little girl, after an eventful night’s sleep, I would often ask for my mom’s help in putting my bed back together. As we re-tucked, pulled, huffed, and puffed my mom would always ask me if my night had included wrestling a bear.
Some nights, when my dreams leave me twisted and tangled, I wake up feeling tired. My mind is racing and it seems as if my time to rest has been interrupted by a host of snarled dreams. Instead of feeling refreshed and ready to face a brand new day, I have prematurely face planted before even placing my feet on the ground.
During some seasons in life, we feel the same way. Twisted, tired, and tangled among our circumstances. There are times where we feel conquered. We drag our bodies round and round, clench our jaws in frustration, and brace ourselves for impact around ever corner. With no warning at all, our covers are stripped from our bodies and we lay cold and exhausted. We try to run, to stand up and fight, but just like in our dreams, our movements are played out in dramatically slow motion.
Our natural instinct in times of distress is to rise up and fight. We keep pushing and straining ahead. If we can only just move forward- the key is to keep moving. In the madness of the world, in our disappointments, tragedies, and fears we crawl uphill. In the rain, we carry heavy wet blankets of our pain, sorrow, and strife. We tell ourselves that if only we can keep moving, then we will be okay. As long as we toss and turn in our sheets, the battle continues and we are not knocked down and destroyed.
But, only for so long can we continue. Soon we are too tired from wrestling the the bears and utterly exhausted from the wet blankets on our backs. The last thing we think we can do is rest. Yet, this is just what He calls us to do.
One of my favorite verses in the bible is a promise found in Exodus 14:14. It says, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Still. I only have to lay still. In this scripture we are promised that He will fight for us. His strength will save us. We can give him our heartaches, transfer our worries to him, and lay flat as He continues the fight.
I find that to be such sweet relief. I can unravel the sheets from my ankles, drop the heavy, wet blankets from my back and I can rest. Not only do we not have to face the torments of life alone- but also He takes up our battle. It’s no longer a dreadful diagnosis of cancer that we must bare or the untimely death of a loved one that we must survive. Instead, we can be still and He will surround us in His love, compassion, peace, and comfort and He will fight for us because He knows it is too much for us to handle.
In being still, there is no more waking up in cold sweats from nightmares. Wrestling bears is a thing of our past. Our beds have been re-made with fresh sheets and properly placed comforters. We lay still as the Lord tucks us in and takes on our battles. And while I rest, close my eyes, and crawl underneath my cool covers- He fights for me.