“When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife” (Matthew 1:24).

Joseph was put to sleep by God and talked to through the medium of a dream. It is God’s old plan: He puts us into a deep sleep, and behold, when we awake there is the great answer to a small difficulty that had turned our life into a sharp pain, or there is the way out of an entanglement that seemed as difficult as a labyrinth, puzzling as a thicket, devised by all the cunning cruelty of our worst enemies. Many times, I have done as you have, falling off to sleep, quite unable to do the work that was pressing me. A refreshing slumber has blessed the brain, has wound it up in every energy and force, and the awakening has been as a resurrection. We have gone to the work that defied us, and lo, in the hands recovered by sleep there has been cunning enough to lift the burden or to dispel the difficulty, and we who had fainted in weariness rejoiced in a renewed and apparently inexhaustible strength. Thank God for sleep, thank God for dreams, thank God for every ministry that gets you out of your littleness. If any minister of God can charm you away from your daily experiences and make you feel, even for one moment that the universe is larger than you had supposed it to be. Go and hear that man: He is your soul’s true friend. If by tone of voice, if by passion of appeal, if by tenderness of prayer, he can turn you to an upward look, he is God’s minister to your soul, extending the horizon and doubling the stars, stretching you and telling you of bigger things.

Adapted from “In His Presence” (Parker).