Week 17 Thursday

When Deep Sleep Falls

Today’s scripture selection: Job 33-34

Key verses: Job 33:15-16

Have you had an interesting, or disturbing dream lately?  It could be God is trying to tell you something.

When one of Job’s “counselors” tried to advise him, one called Elihu had something intriguing to say.  Though his words were heavy with judgment – at one point he talked about how God “gets through” to us in various ways.  One of them, he suggest, is our dreams.  He tells Job:

“In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they slumber in their beds; (God) may speak in their ears and terrify them with warnings….”

I’ve often thought this is the case.

Now, sometimes we can read into our dreams in an unhealthy way.  It may be that we just need to blame that weird vision we had on too much pepperoni pizza before bedtime and leave it at that.

But I also believe, and scripture confirms, that God does use the quiet stillness of the night, and our own dream life, to reach us.

Think of Joseph – counseled in a dream about being wed to Mary, his betrothed – or being warned to return home “another way” to avoid Herod’s insane hatred.

That’s just one of many examples where God reached into the dark recesses of the unconscious mind to reach His children with an important message.

So pay attention to what comes to you in the still of the night; when deep sleep falls.  It may be that it is then, when the business of the day has been put on hold for a few hours that God’s still small voice speaks clearest.

And when morning comes – you can rise with new insight – and do what God would have you do.

Prayer: Ever present, ever guiding, ever loving God – speak to me as you would.  Give me ears to listen – even in my sleep.

AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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