We know it well, it is one of the greatest sorrows of our time. We live in the communication era, but no one really talks to each other. We hope someone will listen to us, but do we listen to the voice of the Lord?
In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed with anguish in front of the great challenge awaiting Him and His disciples were asleep. He woke them up and said to them: “Can’t any of you stay awake with me for just one hour?” (Matthew 26:40 CEV) The text does not say whether Jesus was angry or disappointed when He spoke these words, but His desire was clear: He hoped that His disciples could have stay watching with Him, but they did not. Sadly, this story is repeated today. How many times does the Holy Spirit stand by our bed, as we fall asleep, and whisper, “You couldn’t even spend an hour with me?”
Many singles say they want to get married because they want to go home after work, and have someone to share their day with. The desire to speak with someone, to have a conversation and to be listened to is a fundamental and universal need. There are other ways to fill this need aside from marriage, but this is not the point of this message. We must understand that if we have a need to spend time with someone, to share our challenges and our joys, the Holy Spirit has it too.
The challenges of the Holy Spirit? Yes, maybe He had to order angels to protect us today because we took a dangerous road without knowing it. Maybe we take this route every day and the Holy Spirit would like to talk to us about it, so we could use a safer way! The Holy Spirit is a person, with feelings, and He may have been hurt when one of our colleagues made fun of Jesus, and we did not react. He might have wanted to expose His heart to us if we could just take some time to listen to Him.
He may have been filled with joy when He saw that we resisted a destructive temptation. God might want to congratulate us because we did not even realize that we passed this test! Seeing us help an old lady on the bus and listening attentively to her mundane stories made our Heavenly Father proud to call us His child. He would have wanted to thank us, during this special hour, alone with Him. But we could not stay awake an hour with Him today.
When we spend an hour with the Lord, He can sometimes correct us (2 Timothy 3:16) or advise us in the right direction (Psalm 119: 105). Other times, He can bring us to rest (Matthew 11:29) or to give Him our worries (1 Peter 5:7). Only in His presence can we put on spiritual weapons (Ephesians 6:11) that protect us from the evil one (Matthew 6:13). He can inspire us for our various presentations (Matthew 10:19) or give us the creativity to invent all kinds of lucrative projects (Exodus 31:3). It is by being a friend of God (Psalms 25:14) that He can share with us His secrets and challenges, as well as His joys and projects. But are we able to stay an hour with him?
We forget to spend time with our loved ones because we are easily distracted. It is not unusual to see a mother on her cell phone while her child tries to tell her something. In the restaurant, a guest will not hesitate to answer a text at the table. If we let ourselves be so easily distracted, when people speak to us physically, it is not surprising that we are completely ignorant of the God that we can’t see with our eyes or hear with our ears. He seeks our attention, but we fall asleep.
Jesus said it well. “But the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful” (Mark 4:19 NASB). Our daily challenges and chores can easily invade us. The pursuit of our own dreams, a potential partner or wealth, can so overwhelm our thoughts that in the evening we fall asleep totally exhausted. Much too tired to stay awake for an hour with our first love (Revelations 2:4). Brothers and sisters, this shouldn’t be. Do not sadden the Holy Spirit, He has so many things to share with you.