Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC
Sunday, March 13, Morning
By Barry Christmas
Our Journey Through the Wilderness
Read: Matthew 4:1-4
“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”
One of the many stories relating to Lent is Jesus being tempted by Satan in the wilderness. Today, all of us can relate to this encounter. In the wilderness of a pandemic, we too are being tempted by Satan. HE desires for us to give up hope, to fall away from our faith and church, and to turn against one another. I see some of us as being much like the children of Israel in the book of Exodus when they wandered in their desert wilderness, grumbling, complaining, turning on one another and questioning God all along the way.
This global pandemic has become our personal wilderness. We see so many people who are discouraged, angry, perplexed, depressed, and scared of what the future has in store for us. There are so many unanswered questions such as, “How much longer is this going to last? Will this pandemic ever end? With the cost of everything on the rise and the problems with the supply chain, will I be able to find the basic needs for sustenance for me and my family; and if I do, will I be able to afford them?”
But just as God provided miracles for the Israelites in their wilderness, He will sustain us with His love and grace, He will feed us with the manna of His comforting words, and He will provide for our every need – physically, emotionally and spiritually. All He requires of us is to trust Him, listen to the words that proceed from His mouth, and claim His promises as our own.
One day when all of this is in the rearview mirror, I envision us experiencing a renewal of faith and hope like we have never seen before. In the meantime, stay firm in your faith and continue to love and support one another. Ask yourself these questions: How is my journey through the wilderness progressing? … and how can I help someone else in their journey?
Dear Jesus, my Faithful Shepherd, please calm my anxieties, give me the strength and stamina to face any difficulties I might encounter, and assure me of your ever present love and care. As one of your lambs, please guide me with your staff and keep me from all harm. Amen.