Usually I have no trouble falling asleep. I'm so exhausted by the time I can finally go to bed, I close my eyes and the next thing I know it's morning.
One night a couple weeks ago was different.
I must've tossed and turned for hours. I couldn't stop thinking about the week ahead. I had a lot going on, and I was starting to get a little overwhelmed. Nothing out of the ordinary, right? Well, in addition to the internal stressing, I felt out of breath, and my heart was racing like crazy. I knew I'd never be able to sleep when my body thought it was running a marathon.
My first response was to just pray, to ask God to calm me. When almost an hour passed without my request fulfilled, I got impatient. Why won't You help me?
I flipped over and shut my eyes tightly. Maybe I was approaching it the wrong way. Maybe I should ask more gracefully, have more patience.
Then I heard something.
I don't think I have ever distinctly heard God's voice out loud as some people have, but He will sometimes whisper to me, and I have absolutely been aware of His presence. And suddenly, I felt it. And it was powerful.
He whispered, "Focus on me."
When I was younger, I'd have nightmares sometimes. One night, my parents gave me a crucifix and told me to think of what Jesus did for me on the cross whenever I felt afraid. They said that was what I should focus on, not what made me feel scared or stressed. I kept it under my pillow, and it helped.
I didn't have the little crucifix with me last night, but I did have the power of the Holy Spirit within me, and I had Jesus sitting right beside me. Why should I worry?
There's a verse (Matthew 10:29-31) that talks about how God takes care of even all the little sparrows on earth, and how much more He loves us, His children. He kept bringing that verse back into my mind, saying, "Don't you know how much I love you?"
But the really powerful image that kept running through my mind was Jesus up on the cross. "See what I did for you?" He told me. "That's how much I love you. You can be still. You don't need to worry. I'm taking care of it."
There's something incredible about just picturing Christ. The idea of Him hanging there for me was somehow enough to calm me down and enable me to fall asleep. Yes, it took more than a few minutes for my heart to stop beating a million beats per minute, and I didn't fall asleep instantaneously. Instead, I enjoyed several moments of peace with my Father.
The thing I think we often forget is that we have access to the comfort of Christ 24/7. Whenever we need something, He's there. God doesn't ever sleep and he never takes a day off. He is on call for us all the time.
We have the amazing gift of constant assurance. Access to the Almighty God at all hours. Whom or what, then, shall we fear?