by Tad Lindley
I’m hearing rumors of lots of walrus on the coast, even seeing pictures on Facebook, but I’m not going to believe them until I taste the walrus between my teeth! Shouts out to all my friends on the coast for great spring hunting. This column is a rerun from May 2011.
After Sunday morning church we had fresh walrus. I had tea and sat down on the couch. The next thing I knew I woke up with my mouth hanging open and the clock was showing 3:00 PM. My son was in a deep sleep on the other couch. My good friend who had eaten with us was also looking pretty groggy when he rolled in for evening church. People talk about turkey making you sleepy: turkey’s got nothing on walrus.
Walrus is soporific. That means it makes you sleepy. Do not attempt to operate heavy machinery after eating a lot of walrus. The results could be catastrophic. But if you have been having difficulty sleeping lately might I recommend the following remedy: a nice long steam bath followed by a snack of leftover walrus skin and blubber, you’ll be lights out until tomorrow.
The need for sleep
Sleep is so essential, that in the rare medical condition where the victim loses the ability to nap and eventually to sleep at all, death follows within a year. If you have been having trouble sleeping lately, you are probably only suffering from insomnia or perhaps a walrus deficiency in your diet. This is the far more common problem.
Americans spend millions of dollars every year on drugs to help deal with insomnia. Perhaps the most highly publicized recent example of this is the late Michael Jackson. Unable to sleep at night, he hired a doctor to give him IV drugs. Six weeks into this, Mr. Jackson died from an overdose of the drug propofol. I cannot help but think that perhaps things could have turned out differently if Mr. Jackson, instead of hiring a private doctor, had instead spent that money to come fly out to the coast and trade for some walrus.
What do you do for rest?
If you have lived past the age of ten, you have probably experienced trouble sleeping at night. The majority of us don’t have the money to call the doctor to come shoot us up with propofol. And we found out a long time ago that counting sheep won’t make us sleep. It takes too long to turn on the steam bath and maqiq. Same for thawing out some walrus and boiling until tender. Do you do what millions do, open a jug, smoke a bowl, or pop a pill? It might have worked at one time, but that is a quick road to addiction and further torment. Real rest comes from Jesus.
Don’t count sheep, talk to the shepherd
Jesus understood about the need of men to sleep. He offered something non-addictive that is far more powerful than a hot steam followed by cold walrus crunchies. Something that is free and you can’t run out of: himself. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29)
If you are carrying a weight that makes it hard to sleep, Jesus wants to lift it from you. He will not kick down the door of your sleepless bedroom to do it though. We must come to him. If we will do that, he will give us rest.
Not another toke, another yoke
If your style of sleep management has been medication, it’s time to try salvation. A yoke is to farm animals what a harness is to a dog team. When horses or oxen pull together, the yoke is the wood pull bar that joins them. So when Jesus says take my yoke upon you, he is implying that we will be on one side of the tow line, and he will be on the other, and that he will help us pull the load.
Be blessed with the best rest
There is no food or drug that can truly provide adequate rest. Jesus is the only one who can do that. We step into the yoke with him when we give up on our old life and turn toward Jesus. That is what the Bible refers to as repentance. If we follow the pattern of believers in the New Testament, after repentance we will be baptized (immersed in water) in Jesus name (Acts 2:38, 8:16, 10:48, 19:5, 22:16). Look at how the Bible describes this in Acts 4:19. Repent ye therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. And he will give you rest.
Walrus might be soporific, but it can’t touch Jesus.
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.