Sweet Dreams

Sweet Dreams
By: J. B. Hixson, Ph.D.

When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches. Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
(Psalm 63:6-7)

I used to have the coolest dreams when I was a kid. One dream still stands out in my mind after all these years. In the dream, I was wandering through the forest when I came upon an old shack with a green door. Walking through the door I encountered all sorts of adventures that were thrilling to a ten-year-old boy, such as a tunnel that led to an underground cave filled with treasure!

The imaginations of children are unspoiled by the stresses of life. When our children were younger, I often would tuck them in bed at night, and say something like, “Goodnight! Sweet dreams!” Then I would close their bedroom door and walk away thinking to myself, I really do hope they have very sweet, fun, and pleasant dreams. Even now that they are older, I find myself saying, “Sweet dreams!” when I hug them goodnight.

When I was a child, it seems like there were fewer burdens and anxieties keeping me awake at night. My thoughts were consumed with eager expectations and fanciful plans. Now that I am older, things are quite a bit different. The pressures of life frequently hold my thoughts captive as I try to fall asleep. I suspect this is true for many adults. We drift off to a restless sleep while contemplating the general stresses of the moment—what happened that day, what’s on our plate tomorrow, something our boss said, how to get out of debt, etc. So much for “sweet dreams,” right?

The Bible provides an answer to this problem of restless sleep in Psalm 63:6-7. King David, who certainly had more to be troubled about than we can ever imagine, tells us that each night in bed his thoughts turned to God’s gracious help in His life. He went to sleep thinking about the Lord’s goodness and grace. King David made a conscious effort to meditate on the Lord while he laid in bed and to rejoice knowing that he was under the shadow of God’s wings.

What a great idea! Of all the things we could think about while lying in bed, what better topic than the Lord? With all the busyness of life, it makes sense to focus our attention on spiritual matters that transcend our earthly cares. For my part, when I remind myself think about the Lord at night, whether it is by quoting Scriptures in my mind or voicing silent prayers of thanksgiving, inevitably the Lord gives me some encouraging message. No, it is not an audible voice from heaven. Nor is it a message that is handwritten on the wall next to my bed. Yet, inevitably, God will give me encouragement and peace in my heart and remind me that He is there.

For some reason, God often talks to us at night. Preachers will tell you they get much of their inspiration for messages while drifting off to sleep. Which is ironic since their parishioners often fall asleep while they are delivering those same messages! The same is true for authors and song writers. After an exhausting day, there is no better way to wind down than to lay down in bed and meditate on the Lord. Give it a try. When you fall asleep under the shadow of His wings, your dreams are sure to be sweet.

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