There is a passage of Scripture that makes the rounds on social media, one that I really love. It tells a story that took place during the prophet Elijah’s flight from the reach of Ahab and Jezebel:
“Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. ‘I have had enough, Lord,’ he said. ‘Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.’ Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.
All at once an angel touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat.’ He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.’ So he got up and ate and drank. (1 Kings 19:3-8b)”
So, to summarize:
- Elijah was stressed (as any reasonable human on the run for their life would be).
- He asked God to take his life.
- God made him sleep and then gave him food…multiple times.
Are we really any different than Elijah, minus (hopefully) fleeing for our lives?
We get tired, stressed, scared, and it feels like our worlds are ending.
Maybe, just maybe, we’re underestimating the spiritual importance of simple physical things. Like sleep, or proper food. The things that we need as humans.
I felt myself getting stressed earlier, so I decided to take a short nap. When I woke up, I chugged some water. Guess what? I felt so much better.
Spending time with God is crucial. Prayer, spiritual formations, and time spent in the Word are critical to healthy spiritual lives. But sometimes we act as if those are the only places God is working on behalf of our spiritual well being. We forget the interconnectedness of spirit and body.
God works in simple physical acts, sometimes in incredibly deep ways. These places remind us that we are human and He is God. So never underestimate the spiritual importance of a nap or a nourishing meal – it may be just what you need.