The eighteenth verse of Psalm 139 refers to a sleep that is either waking from a sleep of exhaustion or waking from death. Is it waking to thoughts of God, or knowing God for the first time? Simon’s mother-in-law awakens from a fever (Luke 4:39) and a young girl is “awakened” from the sleep of death. (Mark 5:41) Did the woman or the girl know who “wakened” her?
When I worked at a nursing home as a young adult, I was told to watch my words around a dying patient, because hearing is their last sense to leave.
I’d like to believe that God is there with patients who are seriously ill, even for those who don’t know God. Likewise, I want to believe that God was with my friend from the moment she went to the hospital until the day she died-never once leaving her alone. And I wonder, as she awoke in heaven, if her first thoughts were of Jesus whom she’d come to call her friend long before.
Again I ask if that waking is after death, in life, or if it can be in either place? We can speculate, but we don’t know.
Dear God, be with us in our waking and our sleeping and bring us at last to you. Amen. — CRW