Summary: You can't sleep when your life is unraveling... but it is the sleeplessness of an unraveling life that we learn to live in grateful dependence on God - all the time.

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Title: When You Can’t Sleep

Text: Psalm 30

Thesis: You can’t sleep when your life is unraveling… but it is in the sleeplessness of an unraveling life that we learn to live in grateful dependence on God – all the time.


There is a Volkswagen commercial that is something of a parody of Gene Kelly’s “Dancing in the Rain.” It is a dismal night. The rain is pouring down. Gene Kelly kisses his girl friend at the door and clutching his umbrella, turns back into the drenching rain. Suddenly he begins to dance. He twirls his umbrella. He skips through puddles. With abandon he looks to the sky with open arms welcoming the drenching he is getting. He is so happy in love that nothing can squelch his joy. And then he does cartwheel on the cobble stone street and comes to his feet beside a shiny new Volkswagen and sees a stern policeman with his arms crossed, giving him “the look” and immediately the dancing is over.

You aren’t supposed to dance in the rain… it’s not normal!

Normal is not dancing in the rain and calm is not normal in a crisis. Panic is normal in crisis.

I. From Panic to Perspective, Psalm 30:1-5

Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5

This morning we begin with panic. David’s life was apparently going along just fine when his comfortable life was interrupted by what may well have been a life-threatening circumstance. He spoke of fearing that his enemies would triumph over him. He speaks of failing health, being rescued from death and the grave. Then, having narrowly escaped imminent peril he is overcome with gratitude and praise to God.

We have all heard adages like: I’m coming unglued! I’m falling apart! I’m cracking up! I’m coming apart at the seams! I’m unraveling! In our text today the Psalmist reflects on a time when he could not sleep. His life had so unraveled that he tossed and turned all night.

One pattern I have found throughout my life and have observed in the lives of others goes like this: When life is good… boom! It seems that it is generally during our up times, times when life is good, when everything is going well, it is then that we find ourselves faced with challenging circumstances. We get sick or someone we love gets sick. Someone dies. There is some kind of family crisis, perhaps even a faltering marriage. There is a job loss. And when that happens we find ourselves brought down. We become discouraged. We struggle. We can’t sleep because there is some worrisome cloud hanging over our heads.

Bobby Lewis sang it and it became the Number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1961. In 2008 Billboard Magazine ranked it as the 27th biggest song of all time. It was on the sound track of American Graffiti and it still plays through my mind some nights. If you are at all nostalgic or curious check out Tossin’ and Turnin’ on YouTube. It’s a song about a lovelorn teenager in the 60’s…

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