By Nik Ripken
Editors Note: Have you heard the old adage, “Just sleep on it?” I know there are times when I go to bed not really knowing which way is up and what God is doing in trying circumstances. I pray, try my best to go to sleep, and hope the next day will bring some clarity!
Maybe just sleeping on it—trusting in the finished work of Christ and God’s promises for our lives is the absolute best thing we can do. I hope the following story from Nik Ripken encourages you.
There’s a city in west Africa called Touba. It’s best known for a huge mosque that stands in the middle of the city. The mosque is the central mosque of the Mouride brotherhood. The building itself is huge, ornate, and impressive. And the crowds that gather at the mosque are immense.
Years ago, a small group of overseas workers traveled to Touba for the specific purpose of praying around that mosque.
They Took a Trip to Pray
Attempting not to attract too much attention, the group simply walked around the perimeter of the mosque and prayed for the people who were gathering. After praying, the group found a place to spend the night in a small room at a remote hospital in the bush.
Before going to sleep, the group members reflected on what had happened that day. They shared Scripture and prayed together.
One of the group members recited Psalm 16:7 and noted that God often speaks to us in the night, even when we sleep.
A Lesson on Faithfulness
The next morning when the group woke up, the man who’d shared Psalm 16:7 the night before said he had a strong impression the group should return to the mosque at Touba and pray again.
That hadn’t been the original plan, but the group eagerly responded to the suggestion. The group returned to the mosque, walked around the perimeter, and prayed.
Nothing at all dramatic happened. There wasn’t a miraculous event. Nothing at all happened that indicated there was some reason the group should’ve returned. However, we don’t always easily or quickly see what God’s doing.
Perhaps what’s most significant is that the group was eager to follow the leadership of God, utterly convinced God gives guidance, and excited to learn that sometimes God gives us direction even when we sleep.
God is at Work…Even When We Sleep
How good it is to know God is at work. How good it is to know God is able to guide us. How good it is to know God can show us exactly what He wants us to do. He doesn’t leave us to wonder, to guess, or even to figure things out on our own.
What’s more, we even have God’s permission to sleep!
When we sleep, we place all of our important work in His hands–and we trust Him with that work. It is almost as if every night is a miniature Sabbath. Every night we place our work and our cares in God’s hands and we receive His gift of rest.
And, amazingly, sometimes we wake up and we know exactly what to do!
Nik and his wife, Ruth, have served as missionaries for more than 30 years, much of that time spent serving persecuted Christians. Excerpted and adapted from The Insanity of Sacrifice, Copyright © 2019 by Nik Ripken. Published by B&H Publishing Group.