In Luke 22:39 we see how Jesus is praying in the garden in agony, but he doesn’t fall into depression and sleeps. Before he enters to pray, He advises his disciples to pray so that they don’t fall into temptation. Then after He is done praying, scripture points out the following: “He found them sleeping from sorrow. Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.” I always wondered why Jesus said that to them. It seems as if sleep is almost considered a type of weakness and it gives access to the enemy to take hold. How so though? Here are some things the Holy Spirit revealed to me as I searched what sleeping in sorrow can cause.
#1 Sleeping in sorrow gives room for worry, anxiety, and depression. When I’m sad I feel that sleeping is a healing process, but indeed it really isn’t. It doesn’t solve anything and it doesn’t add on to anything. Worry, anxiety, and depression is really us not trusting in the Lord. As harsh as that may sound, it is the truth. We’re not exercising trust by worrying.
#2 Sleeping in sorrow causes our faith to paralyze. We become useless soldiers, paralyzed in fear. Although Jesus knew He needed to bear the cup of sacrifice, He never coward, instead He said: “your will be done.” As soldiers in Christ, we cannot cease in prayer and fall asleep. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and sound mind.
#3 Sleeping in sorrow causes us to become weak for temptation, perfect grounds for Satan to use against us. In our weakest moments of despair, our flesh can behave in rash ways. Depending on our situation or circumstance, we can give room for bitterness, anger, and let our guard down. This is a scheme the devil uses and we’re all well aware of it. I can see now why Jesus says we need to be sober and alert… because Satan is definitely prowling like a lion and looking for someone to devour. Jesus was tempted in the desert when He was fasting, definite grounds for Satan to move in because Jesus was tired and weak. Jesus however always responded with the shield of the sword, the Word of God.
Therefore, as soldiers in Christ, we must have our sword in one hand and our shield in another. We must stay awake and not drown in sorrow, but instead, rise and fight this battle. I hope this encourages you and builds you up, even in times of despair, the grace of God is sufficient and He will help us through it all.
Author: Jennifer V. Flores