Time in the Desert–Your Yes for 2015: Day 13

Time in the Desert–Your Yes for 2015: Day 13 January 17, 2015

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Welcome to Day 13 of our “Your Yes for 2015” Adventure. If you’re joining us today for the first time, find the index of all of the days here.

As I write today, I am looking out a window that offers me a soaring view of the Arizona desert. I’ve always loved the mystery of the desert. Parched, yet full of life, the desert speaks to a solitary part of my soul and beckons me into both its silence and its song.

Photo by Lisa M. Hendey
Photo by Lisa M. Hendey

As part of my prayer time this morning, I reread Luke 4 and prayed about Jesus’ time in the desert. The part of the passage that caught my attention most reads:

Filled with the holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’” Then he took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant. The devil said to him, “I shall give to you all this power and their glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I may give it to whomever I wish. All this will be yours, if you worship me.” Jesus said to him in reply, “It is written: ‘You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve.’” Then he led him to Jerusalem, made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written: “He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’ and: ‘With their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him in reply, “It also says, ‘You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.’” When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time.

Read in context, Luke’s passage places us alongside Jesus immediately prior to the beginning of his Galilean Ministry and only two verses before his rejection in Nazareth. Jesus prays, fasts, is tested, and comes into the fullness of “Yes”. The trials come early and often. God does not spare his divine son, sent on our behalf.

I know from your feedback that this process has been challenging for many of you. These days of pondering our “Yes” have led us into a desert of our own… a place to pray, to ponder, to consider, and to be tested in ways that are often painful. The lingering in this desert has been both a joy and a hardship. How much easier might it be to just skip this whole fifteen day challenge and just go about business as usual.

But we are called to more.

And lest we fear, let’s look at the conclusion of this same story in Matthew’s fourth chapter, which tells us:

At this, Jesus said to him, “Get away, Satan! It is written: ‘The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.’” Then the devil left him and, behold, angels came and ministered to him.

A huge part of our “Yes” is coming out of the desert now, after having looked our temptations square in the eye, and emerging to give God our “Yes”. But just as Jesus faced trials and challenges, we will as well. We’re called to worship and serve God. But we’re not promised an easy path.

Our free will permits us to choose not to enter the desert, to linger there forever, or to emerge fully committed to what lies ahead. What will you choose today?

What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well. Antoine de Saint-Exupery

To Ponder:

  • In what ways has this start of 2015 been a “desert” time for you?
  • What tests and challenges have you faced in this process?
  • What is your plan for emerging from this “desert” time of consideration into what God has planned next for your life?

Let Us Pray:

Heavenly father, you have permitted us this period of prayer, testing and consideration as we discern the ways in which we will serve you this year. As we prepare to move from prayer to action, arm us for the trials we will face. We want to serve you with our gifts, but the challenges we face sometimes feel insurmountable. Please instill in us all that we need to come into your light with hearts ready to worship and serve you and your people. We are yours. Amen.

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