Elijah is considered among the greatest prophets in the Old Testament. God sent him and Moses to visit Jesus, Peter, James, and John on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-11). What an honor that must have been! Elijah and Moses were chosen by the Father to visit the Son and encourage him as he headed toward the cross.
Yet this mighty man of God experienced severe anxiety and depression. These negative emotions overcame Elijah with such intensity that he wanted to die, to leave this planet immediately. But God restored him. How? Amazingly, by first taking care of his physical body.
1 Kings 18 and 19 tell a captivating story of Elijah in his fight to defeat Baal. It’s a story of good versus evil. Light versus darkness. The forces of hell against heaven. I hope you’ll read it. At one point in the story, Elijah expects spiritual renewal but instead becomes filled with fear. Defeated and discouraged. Hopeless.
In fact, Elijah was so fearful, he tried to run away from his problems. Literally. He ran roughly 120 miles to a different city. His anxious heart motivated him to run, run, and run some more – as far away as he could go.
After a day’s journey, Elijah sat down under a broom tree. Exhausted, he spoke to God, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life” (1 Kings 19:4). He had reached the end of his emotional health.
What happens next is fascinating. God showed Elijah the interconnectivity of the body, soul, and spirit. He let Elijah sleep. God knows the importance of sleep and its restorative power. He invented it. Sleep was the Almighty’s idea. He knows its healing strength.
One way to care for your body, and stay healthy during COVID-19 is to get plenty of rest. Sleep. It requires no effort other than getting into bed. That’s a goal we can all easily accomplish. Go to bed early each night. Sleep for 8-9 hours. Feel the difference in your rested mind and body.
Sleep researchers suggest that as you age, more hours of sleep per night are needed. They recommend nine hours. The greater the physical activity, and the more the body ages, the more sleep that is needed. It’s that simple.
Most of us can remember times when we, like Elijah, felt discouraged. Yet after a good night’s sleep, we felt invigorated. We awakened with a sense of renewed hope that we could move forward and overcome the difficulty we faced. Sleep is a gift from God.
So tonight, go to bed early! Wake up tomorrow rested and refreshed. Replenish your body with the energy and strength it needs. Tonight, put your anxiety to sleep.