And He (Jesus) said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

Luke 22: 46

Jesus had just finished praying, himself; talking with the Father about the world-changing events that He was about to become the center of; so, He came back to His close friends and followers and found them asleep. Stress does strange things to people; for, it can make sleeping when standing guard seem logical, hiding out when facing the issues becomes rational, and saying nothing when a few simple words of God’s truth would have impacted someone’s life mightily is too easy.

When life throws curves at us and what had seemed orderly in the morning becomes chaos by night, our human tendency is frequently to head into our caves for a long winters nap. Pull the covers up over my head; let the storm pass; stay where it is safe so that I won’t be sorry later. This type of reaction is so very human, and it is exactly what Satan wants us to do. If we are undergoing hard situations, so are people around us; when we are living through challenges, others are watching how we handle them. Jesus told his followers that there is great risk in this sort of behavior and that there is no gain. When we try to handle difficult situations in our own lives and in those of the people around us by essentially turning away from them, we are, in fact, denying God’s capacity to deal with them, His interest in people’s lives, and His intimate involvement with us in all things. We are hiding from God, not from our challenges. Jesus reminds us that our first response to hard situations needs to be prayer; talk it over with God and develop a plan of action with the Spirit’s guidance. Then pray some more as we put the plan into action.

We live in difficult times and in challenging circumstances; we are caught up in the middle of a daily struggle between God and evil for the souls of the world. Jesus tells each of us to stay continually in a state of prayerful contact with God and to follow Him into engagement with the lives of others. Together with the Spirit of God we can be agents for change in our world, helping to turn the very worst of times into the best one for the redemption of people.