Scripture: Psalm 4
Key Verses: Psalm4:1, 8
1 Answer me when I call, O God of my right!
You gave me room when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer.
8 I will both lie down and sleep in peace;
for you alone, O LORD, make me lie down in safety.
Reflection: You’ve been there: a sleepless night, when events of the past or worry about the future keep your mind racing. Maybe you are so used to it that you know how to cope. You get up and watch TV, or read a book. Or maybe you try warm milk, or hot tea, or something stronger. Maybe you stay in bed, turning the pillow over, tossing around and staring in disbelief as the clock keeps moving forward. These are the nights the Psalmist recalls as he cries to God.
In the Psalm, his mind wanders around, first recalling other people who don’t act faithfully, then reminding himself not to sin, and to be glad even when good is hard to find. He talks to God, to himself, to those who have wronged him. He is wound up in anxiety, but he prays his way through it.
Consider the image that stands out in verse 1: “You gave me room when I was in distress….” In other places in the Old Testament, the phrase means literally “release from a tight noose at the neck.” The Psalmist remembers where God has allowed space and breathing room, and silence and peace to quiet anxious thoughts and worries. Sleep comes when we can hand our burdens over to God, remembering that God alone provides our comfort and our safety. May your day and night be free from whatever grips you too tightly to breathe, and may God’s peace bring you rest.
Prayer: God you are with me in the darkest night, and always. Release me from the worries and regrets that threaten to choke me. Grant me breathing room, and peace, so I may be renewed to love and serve you again tomorrow. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.
Author: Julie Hester
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].