Daily D – Mark 14:37-38
Mark 14:37, 38 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
My bride is dozing right about now. Soon, I will receive a call to come get her. She is receiving a third injection in her neck to resolve (hopefully) a condition causing chronic pain.
The best part about these shots is the nap. Nearly a dozen of these procedures in my recent past declare the delight of deep sleep. The clinic where my bride is this morning has an anesthesiologist who fitted me with a nasal cannula and instructed me to breathe deeply to fill my lungs with oxygen. Then she patted my hand and said, “I will take good care of you.” She then told me I would feel the sleepy-time medicine enter my veins.
This is where I counted backward from one hundred to see how long it took me to go to sleep. I made it to 93 one time.
The hardest part about these shots is the nurse telling you it is time to wake up. Every time this happens, the words of Best of My Love by Eagles (They do not like being called The Eagles.) come to mind:
I’m goin’ back in time and it’s a sweet dream
It was a quiet night and I would be all right
If I could go on sleeping
(Songwriters: Don Henley / Glenn Lewis Frey / John David Souther
The Best of My Love lyrics © Cass County Music, Red Cloud Music)
If I could go on sleeping. That’s how Michael Jackson died. He wanted deeper and deeper sleep. His doctor sent him all the way into the deepest sleep possible.
Sleep is cleansing and healing. Sleep recharges and renews. Sleep is one of God’s good gifts, maybe one of the very best.
Sleep, however, can interfere with important matters.
Somehow, Peter, James, and John and the gang missed the extreme nature of what was going on after the Last Supper. They were not tuned in to what was happening with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus asked them to “Sit here while I pray.” Then he said, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” He then said, “Stay here and keep watch.” (See verses 32-34.)
This was not a time for napping. Jesus was praying. When Jesus is praying, we should be listening. He who prayed as perfectly as he did every other thing instructs us in how to pray in the most momentous moments of our lives. The last temptation from the evil one was in play. The final moment of decision regarding the souls of every man, woman, boy, and girl was in process.
Jesus was praying. He did not want to be interrupted. He did not want to be alone. He did not want to do anything but his Father’s will.
Peter slept through it. James slept through it. John slept through it. They wanted to stay awake, but they could not do it. As Jesus noted, their spirits were willing, but their flesh was weak (verse 38).
Work from a place of rest. Go to bed on time. Get up on time. Get no less than six hours of sleep each night. Anything less and your body does not fully recover.
Take a nap after lunch as often as possible. Naps less than an hour in duration in the early afternoon refresh our minds and bodies and provide the energy we need for productive afternoons and evenings. Too late in the afternoon and they disrupt our evening rest. Too long and we awake with sluggish drowsiness.
There will come a night when matters beyond your control will rob you of the gift of sleep. Sit with Jesus. Feel the emotions of the moment. Stay with Jesus. Pray with Jesus.
Immediately after this time of prayer came the darkest nights of history. Immediately after these dark nights came the brightest morning so far. Immediately after you hear the last trumpet, the day of all days will arrive bright and fair.
If there is one thing a toddler of a certain age begins to loathe, it is the word Nap. There are too many things to see and do to waste time napping. Here’s guessing this is how we will all feel on That Day.
Rest now. Playtime is coming.
I will dream about That Day.
Our Father, thank you for the gift of sleep. Teach us how to rest well. Give us the self-discipline we need to go to bed on time, to get up on time, and to work from a place of rest rather than resting from our work. Give us seasons of refreshment where we can rest more than normal. Most of all, teach us how to endure those dark nights when rest is neither possible nor kind. Amen.
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Jonah 4:2, 3 So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
Joel 2:12, 13 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.”
Hosea 14:8, 9 “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”