I have often commented to overworked and overtired caregivers, that they need to care for themselves so that they can lovingly care for their beloved. However, Jesus is not talking about this kind of a need for sleep. His next sentence makes the meaning clearer, “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
I have sometimes found myself making an offer to help, only to later find that my offer conflicts too much with what I need. Then it is not a question of energy, but of in whose cause I wish to spend my energy. Truthfully, I often prefer spending it on something that works well for me. But when we have love, what works well for the other can work incredibly well for us as well, even to the point of being in our own interest.
For example, if our loved one cannot sleep, it is hard for us to sleep. And it is not only their tossing and turning that keeps us awake; we can be miles away and still lie awake with them. That is what love does.
Lord, help me to love what you love more than what I love, until what you love becomes my love, too. Let's stay awake together and pray ourselves to the morning. Amen. — EB