On the night that Jesus was about to be betrayed and go to the cross, He went with His disciples to a place called Gethsemane (see Matthew 26:36–46). He was so overwhelmed and deeply troubled that He asked His disciples to stay there and pray for Him. He went away by Himself and fell on the ground and prayed, "Father, if it's possible, take this cup from Me." Later, when He went back to check on His disciples, hoping to get some encouragement, to gain some strength from them, they were all sound asleep. Frustrated and disappointed, He woke them up and said, "This is the greatest challenge I've ever faced. This is when I need you more than ever." He asked them even more emphatically, "Please stay awake and pray!" Again Jesus went away by Himself to pray, only to return to them a second and third time and find them still asleep. He didn't even try to wake them up. He just looked at them and said, "Sleep on" (Matthew 26:45).
Jesus wanted His disciples' support. He deserved it. He could have kept waking them up, trying to make it happen, being frustrated with them. But He wouldn't allow their lack of support distract or keep Him from doing what His Father had called Him to do. He accepted that He wasn't going to have their support, and He didn't let it discourage Him. He knew they loved Him, that their spirits were willing but their flesh was weak. He didn't fight it. He told them to "sleep on" and moved forward to face the cross alone.
There are times when things haven't work out the way we wanted—the friends we counted on weren't there, the medical report wasn't good, the dream wasn't happening on our timetable. We could be frustrated and discouraged. We did the right thing, we stayed in faith, but it hasn't worked out. You have to do like Jesus and tell the disappointment, tell the frustration, tell the delay, "Sleep on. You're not going to sour my life or drag me down. I know God is on the throne, and He'll get me to where I'm supposed to be."
Are there people that you need to stop trying to wake up? Are you going to keep trying so hard to change that person who won't do what you want, won't meet your expectations? It's time to say "sleep on." You can't control what they do. You can't make people do what's right. Pray for them, be respectful, but don't let them frustrate you for the next thirty years. Two simple words can change your life: "sleep on."