Better Than A Power Nap
Sometimes the most spiritual thing we can do is get a good night's sleep.
In Spiritual Leadership, J. Oswald Sanders writes, "'The world is run by tired men.' Perhaps an overstatement, but there is a grain of reality here. The demands of leadership wear down the most robust person."1 Legendary NFL coach Vince Lombardi put it this way, "Fatigue makes cowards of us all."2
How true! When our bodies fatigue, our wills grow weak and our minds get soft. Little speed bumps on the road of life become Everest-sized obstacles.
We are Tigger without our bounce, Popeye without our spinach, Superman without our cape. Like Chicken Little, we feel the sky is falling.
At times like these we know God's promises, but they seem so hollow. What's wrong? I think Martin Lloyd Jones is "spot on" when he writes, "The greatest and the best Christians when they are physically weak are more prone to an attack of spiritual depression than at any other time and there are great illustrations of this in the Scriptures."2
The classic case is Elijah after his encounter with the prophets of Baal. Elijah had just come off a mountain top experience. He called on God, and God showed up--in power! Fire fell from the sky! The crowd was awestruck. Jaws dropped. People fell on their faces. They cried out: "The LORD he is God. The LORD he is God."
If I am Elijah, that's what I would call, "a good day at the office."
But as we flip the page from 1 Kings 18 to 1 Kings 19, we discover that Elijah had done a flip -- from lion to kitten. In one chapter he going toe-to-toe with a few hundred bad boys. In the next chapter he is cowering in the face of one woman. Next thing we see he is running for his life and then laying down his own death wish. What's up with that?
I think Elijah is emotionally and physically spent. There is nothing left in his tank. And I think God is helping us to see that when we are out of gas physically, it impacts us spiritually. We begin to pout and doubt!
At times like these we would do well to remember the words of the Psalmist:
Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. (Psalm 127:1-2 ESV)
What's better than a power nap? How about a good night's sleep! Sometimes it is the most "spiritual thing" we can do. It is not without reason that Jesus said to his disciples, "Come away and rest for awhile." (Mark 6:31)
STAY FOCUSED THIS LABOR DAY: Get some rest!
1 J. Oswald Sanders, Spiritual Leadership, page 118. 2 Donald T. Phillips, Run to Win: Vince Lombardi on Coaching and Leadership, page 107. 3 D. Martin Lloyd Jones, Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cures, Kindle location 177-80)