Nights like these are hard. It wasn’t anything in particular that woke me up. I just woke up. And it’s not as if this doesn’t ever happen, because it does. But somehow, I manage to fall back asleep.
I know I am tired. My body is exhausted. The past two weeks have been so busy that sleep has been deprived. And yet, I lay here, eyes wide open. I’m frustrated. I know my body needs sleep. I toss and turn believing if I can find that sweet spot, I will be soon drift off.
I do all the things you’re supposed to do when you can’t sleep. I close my eyes. Take deep breaths. I count sheep. You know, because I’m sure you’ve been there. I try to shut off my mind and not think. But that is impossible. It seems to be moving at an accelerated rate.
I look at the clock again, another thirty minutes has gone by. I look over my shoulder. My husband, he’s fast asleep, lost in some REM cycle. Lucky him, I’m jealous. Even the dog is out cold.
Another sleepless night. I settle in, get comfortable and let my thoughts flood in and out. I replay the last few days and weeks. I think about conversations, moments, all that needs to get done. But no thoughts are complete and nothing gets sorted out.
And then, my mind suddenly shifts. My heart becomes increasingly heavy. I’m burdened. Really burdened. The people in my life, those near and dear to me, well, so many of them are suffering. Their faces, their situations, they overwhelm me. I’m consumed. They are struggling, walking through such difficult situations. They are barely hanging on.
They are experiencing deep grief. They are living in hardship. They have suffered great loss. Loneliness is a loud and silent presence. Their pain is deep and there is no relief.
They are my sisters and brothers, they are family. We worship and fellowship together. They come with their smiles and well put together lives. Or so it seems. I’ve listened, I heard them. But have I been praying for them?
The charge is to carry one another. We are challenged to walk with each other through these difficult places. We are to be light in their world of darkness. That is the command.
I hate knowing others hurt. I hate not being able to fix the wounds of those I love. I’m a rescuer. I want to make things better. But sometimes, most the time, I cannot. So what do I do?
So I lay here thinking. Another 30 minutes has gone by. The house is so quiet. And then, there’s this whisper. It’s a soft yet stern voice telling me to cast my cares on the only one who can carry them. Lay them down at my feet. Daughter, I am waiting for you to release the load.
My job isn’t to always “fix”. Especially when I am incapable. I can’t make their hurt go away. I can’t fix what is broken. And I feel helpless. But I realize, I need to do what I can do. The very best thing to do. I need to intercede.
Person by person, I lay them down. Their situation, hurt, pain, circumstance…. I surrender them to Him. I fight on their behalf. I battle against the spiritual forces of darkness through prayer for all those precious ones so dear to me. I plead for comfort, peace, healing, restoration, hope, wisdom. I surrender them to the only one who can do the work. They are not mine to hold so tight.
And then, just like that, something has happened. The power of heaven has been ignited. At three in the morning, heaven is rattled. He’s heard my heart cry. He’s listened to my pleas. His Kingdom has been shaken. The spirit begins to move. Angels are dispatched. And a heavenly force so mighty just can’t be stopped.
Another 30 minutes has gone by. I’m feeling lighter. My sleep disrupted with great intention. There’s a peace. I yawn, roll over and drift off. My job is done, for now. The battle is his.