Thu Aug 12- If and When

Proverbs 3:24 (CEB)

If you lie down, you won’t be terrified.
    When you lie down, your sleep will be pleasant.


Lately, I seem to keep getting the scripture texts to write about related to getting a good night’s sleep. Maybe God is trying to tell me something.

I’m struck by two words in today’s short verse: “if” and “when”. “IF you lie down, you won’t be terrified. / WHEN you lie down, your sleep will be pleasant.” It’s like in one scenario, it is up for question whether the reader will put aside the chaos of their day to just lie down and get some rest. The writer promises: it’s not as scary as it seems! But in the secondary scenario, it is assumed (probably rightfully) that the reader will lie down for rest at some point and when they do, they will have a good night’s sleep. Why the difference?

Translating to “if” and “when” seems to track for several translations, yet with little insight as to why this might be. To my ear, the first part of the sentence almost sounds like a bargaining tool, “if you do this, then you’ll get this.” I can relate. Sometimes the ever-growing to do list has me avoiding much needed rest and I’m too scared that if I actually try to rest, then the work won’t get done: but if you actually try to rest, it won’t be so terrifying. The work will still be there tomorrow. After the bargain, comes reason: when you really let yourself turn your work brain off, then the sleep will really help you once you go back to work.

By Rachel Callender

For Pondering & Prayer

When you’re overworked, do you find yourself in the bargaining scenario or the reasoning scenario? In what scenario do you typically resist putting aside work to rest? How can self-awareness about such things help you in the future?

Prayer: Holy God, rest is your gift to us – a true blessing. Allow us to not fear it or think of it as something that gets in our way of success. Amen.

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