“I lift up my eyes to the hills— from where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
God will not let your foot be moved; the One who keeps you will not slumber.
The One who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” – Psalm 121:1-4
I remember a night in the summer before I left for college. I was out late with friends and returned home to find my mom waiting up. She has always been the first to bed in our family, but that night she couldn’t sleep while I was outside the house. It was too powerful a reminder of all the nights I would soon be spending far away.
Unsurprisingly, my first year as a parent has been full of sleepless nights. Even now, months after my daughter began sleeping through the night, I wake in the silence and am compelled to go check on her. Friends whose children are grown say things never go back to the way they were before.
I think of God hovering, like a new father, over the cradle of creation. What joy. What pain. I see God waking, like a mother whose children have long since slept under distant roofs. What love. What faithfulness. A parent with power.
Late at night, wrestling with the angel of anxiety, I remind myself, “The one who keeps her will not slumber. The one who keeps her will neither slumber nor sleep.” When I can believe it, I close my eyes.
I lift up my eyes to the ceiling – from where will my sleep come?
God of heaven and earth, watch over me and all those I love.
Release me from the grip of anxiety, and give me rest.
Vince Amlin is Associate Minister at the United Church of Gainesville, Gainesville, Florida.