Can you imagine spending 40 days in the wilderness? Can you imagine spending 40 days being tired, hungry and uncomfortable plus facing temptation by Satan? The 40 days in the wilderness couldn’t have been much fun. It would have been easy for Jesus to get discouraged, scared, or feel run down by the experience. However, you might be quick to think, no way. This is God’s Son and we learn that with the help of the Holy Spirit and with the assistance of the angels, Jesus not only survives, but he emerges from the wilderness energized to proclaim the good news of God’s kingdom to the world.
I’m sure most of you think that you are in a wilderness surviving this brutal winter. It’s minus 2 degrees at this moment in Bethany. On Sunday, I received a phone call from a senior neighbor who reported that her heat will run out sometime this week because she was told by social services that there are no more funds to subsidize her heating bills.
When you face a wilderness moment, you feel alone and unsure about what to do next. For this sweet lady, her wilderness was about freezing to death. Your wilderness might be a family member or issue at work. Your wilderness might be the result of a poor decision or an illness. Wilderness moments can pop up in an instant and, in some cases, it can feel like you will never find your way out. I have called the ministry of “last resort” in Genesee County to see if the agency can provide a voucher for my neighbor’s fuel bill.
When we find ourselves in the wilderness, we can find hope in the good news that Jesus has gone to the wilderness before us and overcome the temptation and confusion that wilderness can bring. When we find ourselves in the wilderness, we can find comfort in the knowledge that God will be with us, just as God, through the angels, was with Jesus. Just like Jesus, when we face and overcome difficult times, we can emerge stronger, more confident and more connected to God.
God watches over us as we pray: “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” (Psalm 91:11).