Difficulty in getting sufficient sleep for whatever reason is of concern to many. Studies have resulted in estimates that between 50 million and 70 million Americans have sleep-related problems. In the town of 50,000 where I live, there are several sleep clinics.
My heart goes out to those who struggle with this problem. There was a time when I frequently experienced interrupted or fretful sleep because of employment concerns. I was director of a cooperative graduate education program between two universities, when, with little notice, one of the universities withdrew from the agreement. Without the program to manage, I ended up losing a third of my income, which seemed devastating to my family. I also felt some resentment toward an administrator at the university that had dropped its support. My efforts to reestablish the program or replace my lost income through other means were unsuccessful.
I decided to do something I’ve found helpful on other occasions: humbly pray for direction that would restore my peace. The need for peaceful rest has been recognized since biblical times, and the Bible gives hints on how to meet this issue. King Solomon, for instance, advises one to “keep sound wisdom and discretion.... When thou liest down ... thy sleep shall be sweet” (Proverbs 3:21, 24). And Christ Jesus invites all to “come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
One way I like to think of “rest” is as being mentally still in order to feel God’s love, which calms fearful, anxious thinking. This kind of rest comes from being refreshed by spiritual views of God and His creation, which includes everyone. In “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, notes, “The consciousness of Truth rests us more than hours of repose in unconsciousness” (p. 218).
Christian Science explains that Truth is a Bible-based name for God. It follows, then, that it’s the consciousness of Truth, God, that brings the rest and peace promised by Jesus to anyone feeling weary and burdened. So I’ve found it helpful to ask myself, Am I being receptive to God’s ministrations of goodness and love for all His children, who are made in His spiritual likeness?
In other words, it’s a state of consciousness receptive to God’s messages of love and truth that brings real rest and refreshment. When we open our thought to divine Truth with a willingness to receive fresh spiritual ideas, new and reassuring ideas do come. And they give us a gratifying sense of rest and security in the knowledge that we are preserved and protected in the ever-present love of God, who is Love itself. Resting in this consciousness of Truth is a healing, spiritual activity.
As I earnestly studied the Bible and Mrs. Eddy’s writings, it became clear that as the creation, or spiritual expression, of the divine Mind, God, we can never be deprived of the inspiration and ideas we need to peacefully move forward. Praying this way brought a calm assurance that the needs of both the affected students and my family would be satisfied, although I did not know how. With this sense of peace and purpose, the fear and resentment lifted, and I was able to sleep restfully again.
The following week I was invited to attend a meeting at my state’s department of education. This meeting led to contacts with officials who were significantly interested in the success of the cooperative graduate program. Very soon thereafter the program was reinstated, along with my position, which I held for several more years. I saw this experience as an affirmation of God’s love and care for all.
Science and Health explains, “It is not well to imagine that Jesus demonstrated the divine power to heal only for a select number or for a limited period of time, since to all mankind and in every hour, divine Love supplies all good” (p. 494). Understandingly trusting God, and praying earnestly for His direction, meets our daily needs, and likewise gives us a peaceful sense of rest and refreshment.
Adapted from an article published in the Feb. 4, 2019, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.