Sleeping in a sleepless night

Chuck Tabor - Contributing columnist

The little girl was having trouble sleeping. Every night she was waking up in the middle of the night. She would get so worried about waking up and staying awake and not being able to get back to sleep, that she could not go back to sleep.

Even when her grandmother, in consultation with her mother, after all other methods had failed, attempted to get her to take a “child-sized” sleeping pill, she would get so worried about taking the pill that she could not swallow the pill itself!

That same child, who just happens to be our oldest granddaughter visiting with us for a while, had just shared with me what she thought was a beautiful line from a book she had just finished reading.

She said, “You know, Grandpa, when I forget what I’m looking at, it is truly beautiful.”

In an attempt to help her get back to sleep, I reminded her of that quote … but that did not help either!

I doubt seriously if anyone would question the act that all of us have experienced times when we could not get back to sleep, whether actually or figuratively. In this age of pandemics, racial tensions, a presidential election, and all the associated issues related to or falling out from these issues, we are all facing uncertainty in our future.

It could be of our own doing, but it may be also due to our just … well, living!

In an anthology entitled “Finding God At Harvard: Spiritual Journeys of Thinking Christians”, American figure skater and Harvard graduate Paul Wylie writes of his experience during a very trying moment in the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics:

“I set up for the first jump in my program, but as soon as I’m in the air, I know something is terribly wrong.

“A flash later my hand touches the ice; the blade will not hold. I start slipping and now I realize it: I am falling. All I hear as I collapse to the ice is the empathetic groan of what seems like a million voices. I struggle to get up, hustling to get to the next move, thoughts racing through my mind as I try to cover the disappointments. There is no way of erasing a fall from the judge’s minds, nor can I jam the television transmissions to the living rooms of family and friends watching back home. This is live, and I have just blown it.

“I have four minutes left and one important choice to make. Either skate through the rest of the program believing that something constructive will come of the mishap, concentrating and performing through to the end, or continue to dwell on the fall and its consequences, inviting more mistakes caused by a negative frame of mind. A Scripture flashes through my mind that helps me with my decision: ‘The righteous shall fall, but they shall not be utterly cast down’. I suddenly grasp God’s perspective: he will use our successes and our failures to teach us about ourselves and to show the world his glory. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) I move on, accepting a new role. I admit imperfection and decide to skate ‘heartily as unto the Lord’ for God’s glory rather than my own results.”

Paul Wylie would go on to finish 10th, but his lack of success at the 1988 Games did not deter him. He continued to compete in figure skating, learning from his setback. He eventually won the silver medal at the 1992 Olympics in France.

How about you? Have you ever found yourself doubting, even failing at something and wondering how that will work out? Perhaps, it is even leading to sleepless nights!

God has a very special word for you: James 1:2-4 — ” Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

God bless …

Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the News Journal and a former pastor in the area. He may be reached at

Chuck Tabor

Contributing columnist