“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” vs. 1
Often we think of the desert or the wilderness as a place where we can go on retreat and find solace for our soul in quiet and solitude. Hours spent there will be full of meditative fruit and we’ll find ourselves growing closer to God. At least that’s what we have been led to expect. Matthew gives us a different perspective, and indicates that the Spirit can have a different agenda. In fact he tells us that Jesus, after his baptism, was led up into the wilderness by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil…not exactly what we might call a soulful retreat! And sometimes that’s how it works for us too in our quiet times! Instead of growing in faith we encounter doubts and can even begin to question God’s love. We wonder if there really is a God with power and can become confused about our mission and calling. It’s not much fun when we’ve been seeking clarity and find confusion instead. The time away that began with such high hopes can turn nightmarish, more of a test than an experience of growth. But there’s a purpose to the testing, even when it isn’t much fun, and when we hang on to the truth of God’s unconditional love, those stressful moments give us all the strength we need. We emerge with a clear word of affirmation and the direction we crave. And then the mission continues!
Thought for the Day: Testing that has come to me through meditation.