It was a rather unremarkable Monday afternoon at the office. No surprises, no new cases, just follow-up appointments. Then came Mrs. Sloan. Since I know the family well, I usually just call her Sandy. Her husband Simon worked part-time as the custodian in a local church. They had tried running their own business but failed miserably. Now in their fifties with grown-up children, they decided to take thing easy.
‘Your book made me sleepy,’ she said with relief and gratitude.
Under different circumstances, I might be offended if someone told me that. In this case, I knew exactly what she meant.
About a month ago, Simon went out for his morning walk but did not return at the usual time. Sandy got worried and tried to trace his path. She quickly found out that he had suffered a heart attack and someone had already called the ambulance to rush him to the nearby hospital. Fortunately, he made it to the hospital safely. For a while, his condition was stabilized but he started to have more chest pain, they had to do an urgent coronary angiogram. It showed three area of severe narrowing in his coronary arteries. Because his overall condition was extremely unstable, they had to wait for a week before they could do a by-pass operation on him.
Needless to say, Sandy was deeply distress during this difficult period. We had talked openly the gravity of the situation. She could not sleep at night and wanted to have some sleeping pills. I tried to explain to her that she might have to rush to hospital with very short notice. If she slept too deeply after taking the sleeping pill, she might not function as well. I encouraged her to get as much rest as possible whenever she could, whether during the day or at night. That was a tough week.
Once Simon’s condition became stable, I did give Sandy some mild sedative to help her to relax at night.
‘I need something much stronger,’ was her initial report. ‘I still couldn’t sleep. I haven’t had a good night sleep for two weeks,’ she mumbled. ‘I need a stronger sedative to knock me out.’
It was not necessary for me to tell her the importance of trusting God. Being a sincere Christian, she had already spent quite some time praying to God, committing the whole situation to His hand.
‘I don’t mind you taking the sleeping pill from time to time but you must not depend on it.’ I tried to explain to her the pros and cons of taking the sleeping pill.
It was during this difficult period that she came in and said, ‘your book made me sleepy.’ The book she referred to was The Golden Touch.
‘I now read one to two stories from your book every night. They remind me of God’s care. You know what? They actually worked better than sleeping pills,’ she remarked.
She went on to share with me that their pastor had been making regular visits to her husband in the hospital. When the pastor learned that Sandy was having a hard time falling sleep, he recommended that she should read Psalm 127.
‘I thought that psalm talks about work,’ I replied
‘Yes, it certainly talks about work but it also says that God grants sleep to those He loves,’ she continued. ‘Because God continues to work even when we are sleeping, that’s why I can trust Him and rest peacefully. As a matter of fact, the psalm also tells us that if we don’t trust God, we can work twenty-four hours a day without accomplishing anything meaningful.’
‘Now I see. It’s King Solomon’s psalm that actually helps you to sleep, ‘I began to realize what was happening.
‘We, the psalm and your book work together for me,’ she smiled.
‘In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat-for He grants sleep to those He loves.’ (Psalm 127:2)