The Desert: Lonely, barren, unknowing. A place of soul searching, identity formation, refining.
“The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the lonely wilderness in order to reveal his strength against the accuser.” (Matt 4:1)
Here we are, in the middle of the 2020 Lent season, “with” Jesus in this current desert of COVID 19. Yet strength was revealed in the desert to Jesus. When all external trappings were stripped away, Jesus found a secure identity in who He was, not in what He produced or how He performed. He was able to say to the enemy: I am a Beloved Son and I won’t be pushed around by your lies anymore! Time in the desert was a gift to Jesus. He came out, in his humanness, more secure, confident and feeling loved.
What strength will be revealed in you?
Two things to consider--
1. The strength of vulnerability. After years of obscurity, Jesus’ venture into the desert must have raised the question---Where would all this lead? He didn’t know. However, gradually He realized that His ministry meant a life of total economic uncertainty —“Foxes has holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” (Matt 8:20).
Will we go with Him in these vulnerabilities that He knew very well---loneliness, economic insecurity, dependence?
I am struck how Jesus didn’t deny these vulnerabilities or “power up”. Instead He humbly opened Himself up to the care of the Father and others, letting them know what He needed. He was supported by women of means, welcomed and cared for by Mary, Martha, Lazarus, Peter’s mother-in-law and others. He asked for spiritual and emotional support in the Garden of Gethsemane.
2. The strength of discernment. Jesus came out of the desert choosing 12 very unlikely men to be “with” Him, ultimately entrusting them to lead others in a whole new way of life. The natural mind would never have chosen unschooled, unconventional, very ordinary men to birth a revolution. Maybe you, too, are in the middle of a very important decision, or sense a course correction coming. Use this time of social distancing and forced fasting of spending and activity to spiritually discern and pray about the best path moving forward for you. I am with you in it!