Yawning Without Sleep

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“So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.”- Hebrews 4:9-10

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”- Matthew 11:28

I was recently on a long trip with students to a location nine hours away. Trailing behind the great charter bus looming in front, it was my shift to drive the twelve passenger as the late hours of the night progressed onward. My “shotgun”, a young boy suffering from chronic insomnia, yawned. He looked up from the glow of his Ipad, turned to me and said, “You know what’s sad?” I smiled and glanced over. He continued, “I can yawn, but I can’t sleep.” Even in the ruckus and mayhem of a twelve passenger van filled with insane, junior high students, truth was spoken.

In a way, we all suffer from insomnia. Our insomnia doesn’t take the form of physical sleep deprivation, but we all surely suffer from a measure of spiritual insomnia. Our souls are weary with the world. We are weary with war and with poverty. We are tired of insecurity. We turn on the news and sigh because we know what to expect. The murder, anguish, fear, and instability that have infected the world we live in are cliché, and we are weary of it. Our souls are also weary with ourselves. We are tired from suffering at the hands of the same, old sins. We are tired of our own insecurities, our own failures, and even our own inability to measure up to our own standards. Not only this, but unbelievers (and in a measure, believers) attempt to find their rest in a well-earned vacation, in the midst of beach and mountain, in their jobs, in their money, in sex, and in substances. But nothing will quite suffice for us. Our spiritual insomnia is a common disease of mankind and still plagues the believer. The student beside me on the twelve passenger gets winks of sleep every now and then but rarely a full nights rest. He is perpetually tired. We too get moments of rest. We hit mountain top experiences. We go off to spiritual conferences and are refreshed and refocused, and in the quietness of our own devotional moments, we experience a measure of peace which gives us glimpses of the rest we can never fully experience here. And yet we are, as Christians, perpetually tired. For believers, however, there awaits a definite end to our insomnia. There awaits a Sabbath.

The promise of Christ is that in Him we have true rest, but here we still suffer from our sins and the sins of others making uninterrupted, fulfilling rest impossible. And yet from Hebrews we have a hope. At the end, when all things come to their conclusion and eternity commences, believers will finally put away their efforts to find rest elsewhere, will put away their sins finally by the workings of the Spirit, and will find their Sabbath. Christ is their Sabbath, and Christ is promised to believers to have and to hold forever. We will rest in Christ from the sins of others inflicted upon us, and we will rest from our own inflicted wounds. Our true Sabbath is coming back for us, but is also with us now by His Spirit. Let us savor the moments when Rest invades, in the moments of quiet solitude, in good conversations with friends, in front of the beach and in awe of the mountains, but let us look forward to the day when our Sabbath will return for us, when Christ will abolish all yawns and will usher in a rest that will never end.

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