In the wilderness
A Bible Reading: Luke 4:1-2, 14
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry…
…Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside.
As Christians, we are currently in the season of Lent and while, with everyone else in our country, we are facing a time of self-isolation and social-distancing, I was reminded of Jesus’ time in the wilderness at the start of his ministry. Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit and spent forty days alone, in total isolation. He didn’t have food banks or neighbours to bring him shopping, and at the end of the forty days he was hungry. He didn’t have a mobile phone and was not on any WhatsApp groups to keep him company, it was simply him and God, and the temptations that the devil threw at him. And yet, we are told, he came out of that experience stronger, in the power of the Spirit.
This set me wondering. None of us would choose to be in a wilderness experience, but they happen, and one is happening right now, and I believe that we can come out of this experience stronger. We can come out stronger because we will have reviewed what are the most important things in life: family, friends, community and health, rather than meals out, holidays and investments. We can come out stronger because we have learnt that continued busyness is not good, but that having some time to rest, to reflect and to build relationships is good. And we can come out stronger if we can learn to set aside time to spend with God: to read and reflect on the scriptures, to gain his perspective on our situation and to pray for the needs of others.
Heavenly Father, we thank you that you are always with us. In these troubled times help us to come close to you and to draw strength from your word and from your Holy Spirit. Help us to come out of this wilderness experience stronger in the knowledge of your love and power and stronger in the love of our families, our friends and our communities