Monday, February 16, 2009

Wilderness walking...

Luke 4:1,2 
 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, 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.

Wilderness walking...

For the last few weeks, I feel as if I have been walking through a wilderness. Convinced that I am pursuing God's calling, it is a difficult road to walk. 

What is my wilderness? Quite frankly, it is the non-response to our efforts to reach out and talk with people. Since our trip to New England in November, we have only been invited to speak at one church, which went very well. Yet, all our efforts to follow-up on leads and opportunities have only generated the response of silence. Even closing doors make sound, so it is a disconcerting situation I find myself in. 

As I read through the passage in Luke, I wonder...  

How was Jesus tempted? 

We are given account of three temptations: hunger, self-preservation, and power. But the passage says Jesus was tempted for 40 days. I have to think that Satan prodded at every aspect of Jesus's life. Did Satan place doubts in Jesus's mind of the sincerity of his earthly father's love? After all, Joseph wasn't REALLY his father, was he? Did Satan ridicule God's plan, causing Jesus to question his potential effectiveness? Maybe Satan tried to play the guilt card by reminding Jesus that as Joseph's and Mary's oldest son, he had "responsibilities" at home and was abandoning them. Did he remind Jesus of all the baby boys that were slaughtered by Herod in his attempt to eliminate him? (Satan is not adverse to delivering "hits below the belt")

The more I dig into this, the more I feel the overwhelming despair that Jesus must have endured during this time. He KNEW He was the Son of God, but so much of this must have weighed heavily on his human heart. 

I also believe, as in the examples we are given, Jesus found scripture to combat Satan at every step. But like a fighter fending off blows from his opponent, each strike and block took effort and by the end of this 40 days, "he was hungry". Yes, physical hunger after 40 days is almost debilitating, but I believe there were other hungers as well.

Loneliness: after over a month alone, Jesus was sure to crave the presence of others. 

Weariness: lack of nutrition increases fatigue AND vulnerbility to weakness of self-will.

Emotional: We know Jesus was a kind and compassionate person, yet He had not had the opportunity to practice that for 6 weeks.

After His journey, ALL these needs were subsequently met. I believe God will fulfill His promise in me as well. Pray that we may weather the storm of temptations and hunger through this journey.