I went with a minister to visit someone in the hospital. This man’s wife was in bad shape. We first met with the man. Ready to take mental notes I witnessed this seasoned pastor ask some of the strangest questions.
“Have you eaten?” was one of the first. I thought, OK, probably not the strongest start but maybe its a warmup. We are gonna chase the enemy clean out of this hospital at any moment…you’ll see!
“Will you eat if I get you something right now?”. Yeah!, take that spiritual warfare!!!!… wait… what? The man refused. OK, he’s not hungry, lets stop messing around now. The preacher asked the man to sit. He had been standing for hours. “You have to eat, even if you don’t feel like it”. The man started to fight back tears… “I can’t” he exclaimed.
Having been through this level of trauma on many occasions the preacher knew several key things that had never crossed my mind. First, we have to eat. Not because food tastes good or because its socially correct, but because we need fuel. When we get wrecked, when our life is turned sideways or upside down… we don’t think about the most basic things.
If this man doesn’t rest his legs and put some food in his body, then he risks having health issues on top of what his wife is going through. What if she needs him and he has passed out? What if she wakes, or has a complication and the doctors need his permission and he is too delirious to give a coherent response? It happens.
And so this minister cut right to the chase. If you want to be helpful, you have to help yourself. Lets start with the most basic. Get yourself on a steady regiment of fuel. And not just once, but all throughout the process. He trained the man too. And if anyone else shows up, make sure they eat. Its not thoughtless, its not tacky, its doing what is best for your wife. And that is something they could all agree on.
He asked other helpful questions… Are there pets at home? Anything turned on that needs to be turned off? Any children need rides? Any major assignments or events due immediately?
The next thing I learned from this preacher, is that there is a time to preach and a time to not preach. This man didn’t want to hear how great it was from a heavenly perspective that his wife was in pain. He didn’t want to know the Biblical reasons that his life was shattering. He didn’t need to hear a psalm or someone’s favorite verse. He needed to think. He needed physical help. He needed tangible hands and feet. Healing would come later. Right now, he needed human, practical, love and intervention to help him accomplish the things a man in shock can’t take care of.
Cramming God into a void rarely brings about healthy fruit. In most cases, it has the opposite effect. Ecclesiastes was right… there is a time for all things. The man who rests his legs and feeds his stomach is prepared to deal with the coming battles in life. He can’t be caught off guard if he is prepared.
Eat, even when you think you can’t. Rest, even when you don’t want to. What if we carried that same lesson to our walk with Christ? What if we read our Bibles and studied His word even when weary? What if we prayed even when angry? The same principle applies. If you prepare your spirit, it will be ready when needed. If you neglect it, for whatever reason, you will risk being dried up when the real attacks occur.
The enemy, who just happens to know how spiritually depleted we can get, will wait for just the right time to attack. Wouldn’t it be great if we never allowed him that opportunity? If we never left that window open for him to whisk in and take advantage of? We can do that by staying fueled. Steady doses of biblical and Spiritual energy and we can make the same suggestion to loved ones around us.
I think, in some ways, this is what scripture is talking about when it talks about being prepared. So we aren’t taken advantage of by a thief in the night. We are told to stay sober, alert, even in cooking we should not expect to have time for the bread to rise. Preparation. We can prepare for the coming of the end times, and we can also prepare for any of the enemy’s attacks. We do so by putting on the full armor of God, and by constantly communing with Him.
What if the next time we didn’t feel like reading, we saw that as a threat from the enemy? What if the next time we didn’t have words for God or thought it best not to pray, we remembered how desperate he is to separate us from the Father who protects us? “I’ll catch up tomorrow…” May very well mean disaster is on the way for tomorrow.
But in case I lost my point somewhere, I’ll sum up. We need God more than we need food and rest. If it makes sense to keep our bodies going even during times of weakness or sickness, how much more important is it to keep our souls in check?