Insomnia Through the Ages

The Bible is by far the oldest book in most of our libraries, and culture has changed massively. Nevertheless, at certain points the rock-bottom realities of human life show through, and they haven’t changed at all. Insomnia, for example.

Throughout the psalms you find poets who are miserably awake when they should be sleeping. For example:

I lie awake; I have become like a bird alone on a roof. 102:7

I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. 6:6

When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted. 77:2

My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest. 22:2

However, the psalmists sometimes make better use of their wakefulness:

On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. 63:6

In the night, LORD, I remember your name. 119:55

My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises. 119:148

Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. 4:4

Sometimes the best cure for anxious insomnia is faith:

In peace I will lie down and sleep. for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety. 4:8


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