Slumbering with the Saints

Proverbs 3:24

I was genuinely surprised at the response generated by a little blurb I posted on social media today.  I recently submitted my heavily guarded nocturnal processes to the scrutinous observations of a middle-aged man in a white coat. It’s called a sleep study, and they hook a couple dozen wires to your head, face, chest, and legs.  My public query was how anyone could be expected to sleep, much less have said sleep dissected, quantified, and analyzed.

Let me first say, I have never felt I had trouble sleeping. In fact, my sleep is very predictable.  I usually get quite good rest during the third quarter of the Dallas Cowboys’ football game.  After all, it’s the fourth quarter that really matters.  I often take a short snooze about an hour before the evening news.  At my desk, around 2:30 or 3:00 in the afternoon, I am more than moderately comfortable in my ergonomic chair.  Perhaps, most importantly, my sleep habits are a fairly reliable measure of a preacher’s effectiveness.  If I miss my usual nap during the second point of a three point sermon, that fellow is quite the pulpiteer, and that is the station where my train-of-thought dropped me off, sleeping in church.

The afore-mentioned verse promises sweet sleep for the follower of God. Many a saint has enjoyed the fulfillment of that promise during the pastor’s sermon. While most servants of God take offense to this reality, it can be easily explained.  Those sleepers may have been up all night, ministering to the lost, the needy, the downtrodden.  Perhaps the sermon soothes the aching conscience for the wayward sinner.  I remember one dear old saint asking whether or not I recorded my sermons. I told her I thought that was the case, when Henry at the sound board remembered to load the cassette tape into the machine.  Then, I waxed humble. “I’m glad you have found my messages meaningful.”  She replied, “Well, actually, my husband has been having trouble sleeping, so I thought that might help.”  Yes, I walked right into her trap.  She grinned broadly, and we both had a good laugh.

For youngsters, sleeping in church is treacherous. For me, the end result was usually a sound thumping on my cranium or a stinging pinch to my fluffy love-handles. This particular issue is addressed in Acts, the church handbook.  In Chapter 20, we find the story of  Paul preaching to the believers at Troas. Paul talked long into the night, and a young man named Eutychus was sitting in the window.  Young Eutychus drifted off to sleep and fell out of the window and down into the street, killing him.  Paul runs outside and lays down on Eutychus, raising him from the dead.  More than once, I have taught this passage of Scripture, when someone interrupts.  “See what happens when you preach too long?”  I simply respond, “See what happens when you fall asleep in church?”

I am thankful I have not died in church, and I am thankful no else has died while I or my father were preaching.  They tell me sleep apnea can actually lead to death, though.  My family members strongly encouraged me to explore whether I might be suffering from this condition.  After my sleep study, I am relieved to report I slept quite soundly in between my average 86 “episodes” per hour.  In fact, the lab technician informed me that on their official snoring scale, I am categorized as “heroic.”  Well, it just doesn’t get any better than that. At any rate, I plan to placate my loved ones by letting the doc prescribe an anti-apnea, anti-snoring machine. They call it a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure). I call it a CRAP (sorry if I offended you little ones). Sometimes, I am a DIY guy, so I may just hook a garden hose to a 5 horse Honda air-compressor.  We shall see.

sleep study

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Published in: on December 5, 2017 at 3:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

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