You, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill. I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me. – Psalm 3:3-5
There is a direct correlation between thinking properly and doing wisely. It is as true in living the Christian life as it is anywhere else.
Take David in Psalm 3, for example. First, he calls to mind truths about God: “You, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.” Then, out of that truth, he “crie[s] aloud to the LORD.” There’s a lesson in the order of those verses: we have to know and believe the truth about God before we can call out to Him and confidently expect His help.
Sometimes, as we hear God’s word being read and taught, we might think to ourselves, “I don’t need to know more stuff about God! Just tell me how to work in my office. Just tell me how to be a good wife. Just tell me how to get through my schooling.” But the reality is that you must know truth about God first. Then, and only then, what you know about God will empower you to press on, no matter your circumstances. It is truth that transforms us.
Truth also offers us rest. We know from the inscription of Psalm 3 (“A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son”) and from verse 1 (“O LORD, how many are my foes!”) that David was writing at a time when he faced great trouble. His son had rebelled against him and was threatening to take the kingdom from him. Yet, in this moment when all seemed lost and the temptation to despair must have been strong, David was able to say, “I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the LORD sustained me.” Sleep in itself is a gift—God “gives to his beloved sleep” (Psalm 127:2, emphasis added). But to sleep when you are faced with an insurrection led by a member of your own family—that is a phenomenal testament to God’s comforting grace.
David probably felt like doing a million things in an attempt to remedy his trouble. Nevertheless, he found rest because he knew God would watch over him. He knew the truth that ultimately, regardless of how dire his circumstances seemed, “salvation belongs to the LORD” (Psalm 3:8). Likewise, whatever your circumstances, the very same truth that transformed David and gave him rest is yours today. Will you believe it? For it is in knowing that the Lord saves and sustains you that you will find peace in the midst of life’s storms, and that you will find yourself able to rest even on the hardest of days. We can sleep because He does not.