On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night. (NIV)
There are few things worse than lying awake at night assaulted by all the regrets of yesterday and the worries of tomorrow. You don’t want to wake others; you know you need sleep yourself. Early morning TV is not appetising and you are too tired to read a book. It is a familiar scenario to many.
The psalmist seems to offer some help, though we dare not assume it is easy. We focus on God rather than on our circumstances. So simple and yet so difficult. With nothing much else to preoccupy us, those waking hours in bed offer the perfect time and place for all sorts of unhelpful thoughts to invade. And to make it worse, we begin to worry about not being able to sleep and how tired we will be in the morning.
It requires much self-discipline to put aside the anxieties and instead be attentive to the character of God. But it seems this is the best approach. We fill our minds with God; we whisper or merely inwardly speak the name of Jesus. We let this crowd out those other matters that might threaten sleep.
The old remedy of counting sheep at least had the merit of being boringly repetitious so as to send us to sleep. But meditating on the Good Shepherd may help us sleep, minus the boredom!