Ah, sleepless nights…what is one to do? Are you all too familiar with them? Many have tried the sheep counting method, but I find it totally useless. So, this particular night, I resolved to pray. Obviously I had the time, so I figured I may as well use it productively. As I prayed, the image of Jesus, as a Shepherd, came to mind. I pictured all kinds of sheep personalities frolicking around Him – some pleasing and others not so pleasing. I imagined myself as one of His flock, all white and fluffy. But, did you know that sheep are known for lacking common sense and smart decision making skills. They often get themselves into situations from which only a loving, attentive shepherd can rescue them. Hm…would this sleepless night have anything to do with earlier decisions of the week?
As my mental picture took on more depth, I realized that I am often like a head-strong sheep who works her way onto a dangerous precipice where the enemy paces around just below waiting for that one wrong move that sends the sheep plummeting into their gaping jaws. I quickly recognized my very compromising position. I needed my Good Shepherd to rush in, wielding His rod and staff to rescue me from this dangerous place. (Unfortunately, I have memories of several similar scenarios.)
In my late night scenario, I frantically called to my Shepherd. He immediately approached with quick strides and eyes of fire that drove away my enemy. And, wonder of wonders, He was smiling! He found me and scattered the enemy. He gently pulled me up to the safety of His side. There were no stern looks, no stern lectures – just the look of pleasure because I was again safe and sound. I was moved to tears at His kindness and mercy. Even though I created my own dangerous situation because of my own wrong choices, all He had for me was love. Now tell me, who wouldn’t want such a Shepherd and Savior?
Finally, my heart and mind were at peace. I had seen the Shepherd’s love for me in spite of my imperfections. This little prayer-time scenario brought such joy to my heart that I laughed right out loud. My own self-made mess was redeemed by His great love. Now, I’m ready to relax and let sweet, peaceful sleep wash over me.
The next time that you have a sleepless night, remember that there is a Good Shepherd whose name is Jesus. He long’s to rescue those of His flock when we call upon Him. He is even willing to rescue those sheep who want to be a part of His flock, who will call out to Him for help and rescue from messes they have made in their lives. Take Him up on the opportunity and see if joy won’t fill your heart until you laugh right out loud and then peacefully fall asleep.