Have you ever had a sleepless night, a night where sleep eluded you? Or how about you go to sleep but your eyes pop open inexplicably at 2 am and you know sleep is over for you? What do you do then?
Well for me this was a constant occurrence when my children were in their teens. I was constantly thinking (truthfully worrying) about something related to them. If it wasn’t their schooling, it was their future, or their friendships or their relationship with God, it was always something.
I said the serenity prayer and recognized that they were their own people and I couldn’t control them as they matured and made decisions about their lives, but yet I couldn’t sleep. I remembered that when they were babies I use to sleep a full 8 hours, and wondered if I would ever see those days again. Well I did come through and am back sleeping well, so for you going through it now, there is hope.
My children are all grown now living their lives with various degrees of success and I am proud of each and every one of them. There is progression not perfection in their lives and I am trusting God to bring them into His purpose for them. But I will still have the occasional night where sleep is difficult. One thing I noticed however is the ability of God to stay up all night and be my counselor. As a counselor myself I am not that selfless. I have only been asked to stay up late with someone once as I helped them through a crisis. I did it because I wanted to help that individual, but I don’t think I am selfless enough to do that on a continuous basis.
On the occasional sleepless night I will be up at 2 am asking God to counsel me as my mind races with thoughts and feeling about many situations. As a wise counselor He listens patiently as I outline my thoughts and my feelings. As I express my various feelings, anger, disappointment, fear, I will usually hear nothing, just the sound of His present silence. I wondered if that is the way my clients feel. I am there hearing and just breathing. Is it comforting for them, because for me Gods silence was comforting. His presence is a non judgmental witness to the turmoil in my mind.
As time passes I start to hear him say things, but it isn’t him saying anything. It is me remembering things he had said to me over the years. You see He and I have a relationship where I have read his word many times and I know the kind of things He says, I know His take on many things. I remember what He said to Elijah in 1 Kings 19 and I hear him saying the same thing to me. “Eat and sleep”. I hear him encouraging me to take better care of myself. I hear him remind me that He owns the cattle on a thousand hills and can give me access to anything I need, and will when He believes I “need” them. I hear Him tell me that I am precious to him and that I can come to him at any time with my hurts, my frustrations and my fears.
Over the years I have had many clients come to a session and share that they had faced a situation during the week but were able to manage it well because they remembered something I had told them and they applied it to the situation. I actually had a client say “you are in my head”. Don’t know that that was the goal of therapy, but it was said in a positive way. I came to realized that if you trust someone and are prepared to let them guide and direct you, they don’t need to be present for you to benefit from the guidance.
Recognizing that God is able to guide me even at 2 am has been wonderful. There is no physical counselor out there who will visit you in the dark in your bedroom while you are under the covers and just sit and hear your thoughts. If there was one, it would be creepy, just saying!. God however does just that by providing you his comforting presence at the most inconvenient time and place for anyone else. Who else is glad that they have a “Wonderful Counselor”.