“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.”
There are three types of people in the world. People who love them, people who hate them, and people who tolerate them (and like them better when things go the way they plan which, though rare, does actually happen). Haha.
And then there’s me. For me, airports have a very special place in my heart. I’m sitting in one now as I write this blog. An airport may seem like a strange place to find comfort in, but they have a certain “coming home” feeling about them. A side effect of being a missionary kid I’m sure. Some of my earliest memories are from airports. For example, the time five-year-old me had her sausages stolen by an evil security beagle in the Paris airport (I’ve hated beagles ever since…), losing my brother, an injured toddler, in the airport on the way home from Senegal, or the first time I flew alone all the way to California to see my best friend Molly graduate from high school. Airports contain many memorable moments.
However, none of these are my best “airport” memory. I want you all to think of the best sleep you’ve ever had. The most peaceful, comforting, restful, and safe sleep you’ve ever had. Where was it? Was it on vacation in a hotel? Was it in your own bed? On a visit to someone close?
Mine is on an airplane.
But not just anywhere on it, it was in fact on the floor of the airplane. Yes, you read right… the FLOOR of an airplane. When I was small I would sleep between the rows, beneath the feet of my parents. There, underneath the seats, I slept peacefully listening to the roar of the plane engine. The constant sound blocked out all other noise and lulled me into a deep, restful sleep. I felt safe and comfortable with my parents above me, protected from the eyes of anyone else on the plane.
Now that I’m older, when I think about that “perfect” sleep… I wonder strangely at it. There are many reasons why I shouldn’t have felt any of those things sleeping there. Here are the main ones.
- It’s the floor! It’s hard and uncomfortable. No mattress, no pillow, no blanket. Just the floor and me. Not to mention kind of gross (who knows what’s down there)!
- Is it actually safe? I mean what if someone stepped on me forgetting I was down there? Meanwhile I was totally surrounded by a bunch of ambiguous strangers…
- Really the most obvious is that I was on a plane. A giant, heavy aircraft thousands of miles above land or sea that at any moment could experience technical malfunctions, captain error, or a terrorist hijacking and go crashing to the ground with no hope of survival.
Suddenly my place of wonderful slumber sounds stressful, disgusting, uncomfortable, and super dangerous. How could anyone in their right mind find a way to sleep quietly or comfortably there?
Perhaps, it had to do with the fact that I was just a child. I trusted my parents to keep me safe. I trusted the plane to fly without trouble. I trusted the pilot to captain his plane professionally and get us where we needed to go. I trusted the strangers all around to ride the plane in peace beside us. Children often don’t realize that dangers that surround them.
As I pondered this place of rest, I thought of what a metaphor it is for God’s presence in our lives.
Life is hard. It is stressful. It is dangerous. Sometimes, relationships in life feel more than a little messy and disgusting. I don’t know anyone who would necessarily term life as “safe”. It certainly is uncomfortable at times. How can anyone find peace, joy, and rest among the turmoil that is life?
I love that the thought that God is in that. Despite the surrounding danger, our stresses and hardships, overbearing challenges and worries, and in the face of the grossness of life… God is ALWAYS there to give us peace, rest, and comfort in the most unbelievable circumstances.
In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Like a little girl finding pure and tranquil sleep on an uncertain plane in flight… the Lord gives us His fulfilling contentment, calm, and hope among the burdens that weigh in our life.
Have you sought the Lord to give you rest that is not circumstantial? What worry is weighing you down that you need to release in order to find His complete comfort?