Where have we come from?

And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. Mark 1. 12-13

The Gospel of Mark gives us a pared down account of the temptation of Jesus and I wonder if this simplicity helps us with our Lenten journey. Jesus we are simply told is driven out into the wilderness. So, we are free to imagine what a wilderness would look like for us. For most of us a wilderness is not somewhere hot with no food and water but rather somewhere or some time when we feel separated from the world, through disagreements, through grief, through ill health, through confusion with the changes in the world around us.

During this first week of Lent, I would encourage you to take some time to reflect on how you felt during these times. What types of unhelpful behaviours did you feel tempted to respond to the situation with. Sometimes we want to bury our heads in the sand, sometimes we want to come out fighting, sometimes we want punish others emotionally so they feel as lost as us. Sometimes we are even tempted to wish the darkness would consume us completely.

But just like Jesus we are not alone in our times of wilderness. There are always angels that wait on us. Our family, friends and professional carers who check we are okay by phoning us, visiting us, seeing to our practical and emotional needs, patiently listening and helping us to adjust.

And yes, there are times of wilderness when we feel that there is absolutely no-one who understands our situation, our feelings, our needs. But don’t let Satan tempt you into forgetting that there is one person who will never leave you. One person who understands exactly what you are going through. One person who can deeply listen, deeply empathise, deeply respond with unwavering love. Jesus has been there. He has experienced the wilderness that humanity is often faced with. He has experienced that full force of Satan’s tempting power. He has experienced the worst that human beings can do to each other. He has hit rock bottom and he has risen again. So, who better than we turn to, who better to trust fully when we are in the wilderness. Who better to share our innermost thoughts with who better to ask for help to escape from our personal wilderness.

Prayer: Loving Lord, thank you for your saving presence throughout my life, for your unwavering love, for your personal guidance, for your wisdom and strength. Thank you for sending your angelic messengers to guide me to choose the right path which brings life in all its fullness. Amen

With all my love and prayers for a holy and refreshing season of Lent.