This is for both my wife and my sister, for different reasons: Jason McMartin on how sleep can bring glory to God:
We glorify God by making known his greatness. Human sleep illuminates God’s nature by means of contrast and difference. Humans must sleep and can die if they do not. God’s sleeplessness shows his independence; our sleepfulness reveals our dependence. We cannot not sleep; God cannot sleep. God is blessed in himself, which includes his self-existence and independence. He has the source of life and joy in himself (1 Thess. 1:9; Ps. 36:9; John 1:3–4; Jer. 32:36–41; Zeph. 3:17) and is in need of nothing to possess these things. Sleep brings glory to God by showing that we are not blessed in ourselves and must receive blessing from God’s hand. If we are to possess existence, life, joy or anything at all, we must receive them from God as gifts of grace. Appropriately then, we glorify God in sleep without being able to help it. Sleep shows my creatureliness in contrast to the Almighty Creator who gives me life.
Sleep, like our very existence, is a grace. It is a gift. It is given and not earned. Likewise, spiritual growth is largely indirect. Formation practices set the context and conditions for growth to happen, but do not directly produce the growth. Growth in Christ requires effort, but it is the grace of God’s activity that engenders results and not our earning. As in sleep, we must be patient in spiritual growth when all of the conditions are in place, but the intended outcome does not happen.
I realized that I often view it as a luxury that needs to be sacrificed if I’m to serve God as fully as possible. I might even feel guilty when I give in to it instead of trying to do “just one more thing.” I’ve tried to force myself to live with less and less of it in an attempt to be more productive.
It’s more than okay to sleep. It’s more than okay to stop working at night, though there’s no end to what could be done for the sake of God’s kingdom. Sleeping is more than just the way God designed us to function; it’s actually a daily confession of our own limitations, our dependence on God, and our trust in Him to run the world.
Thank you, Amy and Jason, for adding one more arrow to my quiver of arguments for sleeping in on Sunday morning. Just doing what I can to glorify God, y’all! (Zzzzzzz…)