“At this I awoke and looked around. My sleep had been pleasant to me.”
We stood with a couple at the courthouse recently. They were there for a termination hearing for a child they wish to adopt and several of us had given testimony on their behalf. At the close of a very long day for this tired pair, their lawyer was giving them her assessment and counsel as to what would come next. She said the presiding judge would have to study some depositions and other professional testimonies the next day before handing down his ruling. Their part, at least in court, was over. She felt it went quite well.
As we huddled around the hopeful parents and said our fare-thee-wells, we prayed over them then encouraged them to go home, get a good night’s sleep, and rest in the peace that their Heavenly Advocate was on the case. Just before we each went our separate ways, one of the women who had given testimony offered a word fitly spoken which quickly consoled the prospective mother. The encouraging statement seemed to be carried on the wings of a ministering angel to the quaking heart of the mild, soft-spoken litigant. One could sense the relief that caressed her in that sacred moment. She smiled and said, “after hearing that, I think I will sleep well tonight…”
When my son was a little guy, we would pray with him each night and listen to his “Now I lay me down…” innocence. Far and away, the most pressing request on his little heart was, “Dear Jesus, I pray that Mommy and Daddy and I really, really, won’t have bad dreams…” The same request would surface midway through his bedtime prayer and also at the end just for good measure.
The verse above is a wonderful passage from the Old Testament that gives great hope for the fitful, weary and whipped servants of the Lord. I trust the truths that unfold from this great text will chase away the bad dreams that hold you hostage. So, for your slumbering pleasure, I share with you seven sweet lullabies that should foster some of the greatest dreams ever to play across a restless mind.
LULLABY #1: HE SEES OUR WOUNDS
“This is what the LORD says: ‘Your wound is incurable, your injury beyond healing…But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds’, declares the LORD.”
LULLABY #2: WE’RE GOING HOME!
“See, I will bring them from the land of the north and gather them from the ends of the earth. Among them will be the blind and the lame (yea!), expectant mothers and women in labor; a great throng will return.
“They will come with weeping; they will pray as I bring them back. I will lead them beside streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble…
“They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion; they will rejoice in the bounty of the LORD…they will be like a well-watered garden and they will sorrow no more…”
LULLABY #3: OUR WORK WILL BE REWARDED
“This is what the LORD says: ‘Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded,’ declares the LORD”
LULLABY #4: OUR CHASTENING IS REDEMPTIVE, NOT CONDEMNING
“‘You disciplined me like an unruly calf, and I have been disciplined. Restore me and I will return, because You are the LORD my God.
“After I strayed, I repented; after I came to understand, I beat my breast. I was ashamed and humiliated because I bore the disgrace of my youth.
‘Is this not Ephraim, my dear son, the child in whom I delight?…I have great compassion for him,’ declares the LORD.”
LULLABY #5: MY HEART’S ROMANCE WILL TAKE ON GREATER MEANING
“‘I will bring him near and he will come close to Me, for who is he who will devote himself to be close to Me?’ declares the LORD.”
“Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Take note of the highway, the road that you take. Return, O Virgin Israel (God still sees her in innocence!), return to your towns.
“How long will you wander, O unfaithful daughter? The LORD will create a new thing on the earth–a woman will surround a man.”
The word “surround” can be translated “embrace.” In the ancient near east, it was not customary for a woman to be so forward romantically, but the picture is of a woman so enthralled and obsessed with the delight of her heart, she cannot help herself. This is the “new thing”: a relationship that is sealed, shielded, firm and eternal! The old is gone, the new has emerged. The “Trail of Tears” has turned into “Lover’s Lane”…this is the “highway” (v21) the redeemed walk upon!
LULLABY #6: WE WILL NEVER BE REJECTED OR CAST OFF
“‘Only if these decrees vanish from My sight,’ declares the LORD, ‘will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before Me.’
“This is what the LORD says: ‘Only if the heavens above can be measured (which they cannot!) and the foundations of the earth below be searched out (ditto!) will I reject the descendants of Israel because of all they have done,’ declares the LORD.”
See God’s love as a rainbow. By the way, the rainbow is only a “bow” because the horizon of the earth obscures us from seeing the whole picture. A rainbow is actually a circle, which symbolizes eternity. In scripture, we see that Noah saw a rainbow (God’s “bridge of grace”) after the storm; Ezekiel sees a rainbow in the middle of the storm (1:4) and John the Revelator saw one before the storm (4:1-3)!
God has it covered, dontcha think?
LULLABY #7: OUR WORST WILL BECOME HIS BEST!
“The whole valley where dead bodies and ashes are thrown and all the terraces out to Kidron Valley on the east and as far as the corner of the Horse Gate will be holy to the LORD. The city will never again be uprooted or demolished.”
The Redeemer specializes in taking the broken, ruined wastelands of our life and recreating them with a beauty redolent of the Divine. Studio hands saw a block of granite, but Michelangelo saw “David.” You may not get past the ugly of personal failure and history, but your Artist sees a masterpiece both in the making and in the finished product.
I truly hope these lullabies will enable your road-weary soul to get a good night’s sleep tonight. Heaven’s Night-Lite is casting its glow over you and the Lord is making sure you are safe and sound. Sweet dreams…
(Oh, as for the couple I mentioned at the outset of this post? Well, they got the news just today: the judge ruled in their favor and they are free to adopt their little guy. Bet they’ll sleep good tonight.)