Sometimes faith shows itself at its greatest when one just goes to sleep. I remember the story of a missionary who was stranded somewhere in a dangerous part of Africa. They knew there were violent thieves around and they feared for their life, but they could do nothing about it. As the man was praying, the Lord spoke to him the Scripture in Psalm 4:8–“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.” So with that Word, he shared with those around him and they decided the best thing they could do was lie down and sleep.
Sleep throughout Scripture has often been a fruit of faith. Consider David when pursued by Saul and his whole army (Ps 3).
Lord, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
“God will not deliver him.”
my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
and he answers me from his holy mountain.
I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
assail me on every side
Surrounded by tens of thousands who were pursuing him to his death. And David goes to sleep. It was the sleep of faith. And it wasn’t the first time (Ps 4).
We see it again in the New Testament. Jesus and his disciples, some of who had grown up on the waters of the Galilee, were convinced they were going to drown in a storm. And where was Jesus? Sleeping. Soundly. They woke him up, he rebuked the wind, rebuked the disciples, and in my estimation he went back to sleep. (Lk 8:22-25; Mk 4:35-41).
“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue from your hand, O King. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Dan 3:17-18).
And I think with every act of faith in this form, the forces of darkness shudder. Shudder at our snoring.