WE are living in a very unsafe world!
From the day we are born, the day we came out crying from the womb of our mother, we are unsafe! That feeling is always with us until death!
A child does not know that it has landed into a world where it is surrounded by poisonous germs of all diseases, uncomfortable hot and cold weather, polluted atmosphere and an unfriendly human race.
But it feels that it has lost the safety of its mother’s womb and lets out a cry.
Even after growing up, everyone, however powerful he or she is, has this insecure feeling. It will be hiding somewhere in the corner of their heart. For this reason, even powerful people keep bodyguards and gunmen around them for their safety.
The child grows up only to encounter more and more obstructions, hurdles, diseases, falling after a little walk etc. etc. Later new troubles start by its involvement in the worldly life. The child gets educated, gets trained in some field, practices whatever it learnt, plans and executes some work, finds someone to be life partner, tries its best to live with all the family members both old and young. What all hurdles!
But here comes the most important of them all; that is, finding something called money. That is what we need for buying our necessities to carry out all activities of life. Searching for it, a common man faces the greatest of all hurdles. If he succeeds in finding enough of it, in his life time, most of the problems are solved by buying anything and almost every thing. Many people fail to earn it, account it, manage it, and keep it due to various reasons. When someone fails like that, he loses his ‘peace of mind’. Once that is lost, he will not search for money but for peace of mind.
For him, peace will not be found in his home, not in the company of his spouse, not with the friends, not even with his own mother. He will run and run to find it somewhere. He will lose his sleep. Chronic diseases, harsh criticism from family and friends, suffering poverty etc. may increase his sleepless hours. His body will be tired but it cannot relax because his mind is busy searching for something. Fear grips him and he suffers mental imbalance and he cannot go forward for he cannot plan his future. His mind is affected very much by all those who hurt his feelings.
Yes! … What he needs is sleep!
Sleep – that will relax his body which can recondition itself. Sleep that can wipe out the mental torture he has gone through till that time. Forget the worries at least during that time. Modern medicine offers shortcuts to induce sleep but they deteriorate his health for sure. Some people will advise him to indulge in sinful acts like drinking alcohol. They cannot give a permanent solution instead they may add on some more problems.
The real need is to feel that he is in a safe place like the mother’s womb, surrounded and protected by a virtual fort, where he does not expect anything or anybody to hurt him. Proverbs says: “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth in to it, and is safe.” (Prov. 18:10).
At last here he is, walking into a place where he is surrounded by people who are at peace in their hearts. He hears the encouraging words of the Pastor’s prayer. Hears the cry of Jesus: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavily laden, and I will give you rest.”(Matt. 11:28). The worship song sooths his mind like the lullaby of his mother. He has cast his burden upon the Lord. His mind, now, relaxes and in turn relaxes his body too. No wonder, the body goes into that sleep it was craving for. So he sleeps! Let him sleep in that peaceful atmosphere! In his psalm even King David says: “I will both lay down in peace and sleep; for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.” (Psalm: 4:8).
This man is not shameless but helpless. Someone can wake him up at a proper time to listen to the sermon, may be there is a special message for him in that. He will be thankful for such a kind act.
After all, sleep is God’s gift for every man to overcome his physical weakness and get up stronger after a while. When he wakes up, he is fit to work again!
There can be many other reasons for people to sleep in a gathering, like a hectic day, tiredness due to hard work, weakness due to illness or age. Modern day jobs call for working long hours in the night. Someone may come to church immediately after a long journey. It can even be induced by spiritless preaching from the pulpit. God knows the difficulty of the individual and His mercy endures forever.
Pray God that they are blessed with the wisdom to plan their life style properly. And they may avoid this kind of sleep that will embarrass them and the Church.
Church is a spiritual body of Christ, and Christ has warned more seriously about sleeping in spirit. Christ’s second coming will be sudden and not known to anyone. In Mark 13:32-33, He said: “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.”
“If He comes suddenly, do not let Him find you sleeping. What I say to you I say to everyone: Watch!”
(Mark. 13:36, 37)
NOTE: Inspiration drawn from: The sermon of our dear brother Group Captain Jacob James on 8 June 2014. He said: “Do not disturb the one who finds some sleep in the church, for he has found God’s peace in this place. He will soon find a permanent solution to his problems in the LORD and happily worship Him.
Just pray to our dear Lord that He may bless him with the real peace.”
The person who sleeps in the church may be a believer or a nonbeliever, it does not matter. Many people have gone through such situations and my experiences make me to agree with the above idea. It is not a laughing matter but a reality. He, that has ears to hear, let him hear.
‘Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight …’
Author – C. Samuel Gift (Bethel Seniors Fellowship, Bethel AG Church, Bengaluru)
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