It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep. Psalm 127:2
Days are shorter now. Dark appears like a too early guest, showing up before the meal is ready or the table set. The dappled sunlight that once played happily in a hardworking kitchen at the end of the day has taken to retiring early. I can no longer count on its cheery rays to soften the transition between a day in the office and an evening at home.
I am not without other resources. At this time of the year, I nightly summon long-standing cohorts to join me for a happy hour of reading the mail and cooking a meal. Once lit, these chunky white pillars offer the familiar fragrance of home and a glow that brightens my flagging spirits. These are the same waxy friends who joined me as I fixed my morning tea and prepared to start my day.
Beginning and ending my day augmented by candlelight, I am reminded of the old admonition not to burn the candle at both ends. (I tried it once—lighting both ends of a taper for real—and discovered a candle so lit, burns itself out very quickly and ends up in a smoke-tinged waxy puddle. Now there was a lesson to be learned.) In my case, I would have to rephrase and claim, “I burn the candles at both ends—of lengthy days.” Especially at this time of the year.
I fill every day to the brim in a misguided effort to make the most of my twenty-four hours. I often complain I was short-changed in my daily time allotment. (As if the Creator made a real mistake.) Certainly God meant for me to have more minutes so I could accomplish more things and offer him more praise.
Or did he?
On the contrary, God is not handing out accolades for my late to bed, early to rise lifestyle. In Psalm 127, he labels my frantic, fill-every-minute existence as futile and unproductive. His loving desire is for me to take my rest in him, to let him restore my soul as I sleep so that I am fresh to enjoy the work of a new day.
I would love to keep writing tonight. I’m tempted to explore and expand upon this train of thought. I'd love to check some commentaries and study this for at least another hour.
But my unstudied understanding of God’s desire leaves me with just one obedient conclusion. Rest.
And so I am going to bed. I cannot wait to see what God will bring me as I sleep.