33. Sleep is the ultimate hedge against Death.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. {Ecclesiastes 3:11}

God has complete control over Sleep—but we don’t. Yet have you ever noticed how much of our lives we dedicate to our angst over going to Sleep? We try to avoid it, we try to delay it, we try to control it. We do everything we can to manipulate the reality of Sleeping in the grave, and so we’re shocked and devastated and stunned when we are forced to submit to it once again.

This is not by accident. In general, Sleep is an enormous blessing—a chance to rest from the ongoing evil and depravity of this world while God is working to wrap up the war started in His universe. When we stop to consider what our lives might become if nobody could ever be laid to rest in this world, we’ve got to admit that there is some blessing in it.

But God designed an even bigger blessing for us in imposing this condition upon humanity. He gave us Sleep as the ultimate hedge against Death. What does that mean? It means that, in our sinful condition, which is driven by self-preservation and the inclination to act autonomously (apart from God), Sleep reminds us again and again that we are dependent. We do not have life within ourselves, nor are we actually able to effect the preservation of self we so desperately try to accomplish.

God will do anything He can to keep us from stubbornly walking the road that leads to real Death. He will do anything He can, not leaving any stone unturned, to get us to turn around and come back to Him. To that end, the Sleep God ordained by removing us from the Tree of Life pulls us up short over and over, seeking to break the rebellious spirit that says “I will be like the Most High.” For how can we be like the Most High when we can’t even keep ourselves out of the dust?

If you want to dig deeper—
2 Samuel 12:23
Job 12:10
Job 14:5, 14
Psalm 34:18
Psalm 39:4-7
Psalm 68:20
Psalm 73:25-26
Psalm 90:12
Psalm 102:26-27
Psalm 139:16
Psalm 144:4
Ecclesiastes 3:19
Ecclesiastes 7:2
Ecclesiastes 8:8
Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10
Hosea 13:14
Matthew 6:27
John 14:1-2
Romans 8:18
2 Corinthians 5:1
1 Timothy 6:7
Hebrews 13:14
James 4:14
Revelation 12:11