Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted[a] by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[b]”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[c]”
7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[d]”
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’[e]”
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
Most mornings I put on my running shoes and I take off on a run around my neighborhood and I absolutely love it. Actually, some of my best prayer times have come while I’m running. This has become routine in my life and usually leaves me at a peaceful state afterwards. One thing I notice about my runs is that I always know where I am going beforehand and how to get back to my house. The idea of running in an unknown place, not knowing how I would get back makes me anxious. On second thought, that’s how I like to live my life as well. Always knowing where I’m heading, always in control.
So today I reflect that Jesus was led into the desert by the Holy Spirit with Jesus not knowing exactly what was going to happen there. There was no path, no direction to a finish line, and no rhythms of everyday life. In these 40 days Jesus shows us that we can still be led by the Holy Spirit even when those things in our life seem absent. I mentioned that I prefer when things seem to go as planned for me, but the reality is that’s not always the case. Sometimes there’s an unexpected phone call, a sudden injury, or a broken relationship. Sometimes it feels as if temptations are all around us, like the devil speaking to us in the wilderness. But, what does Jesus do? He looks beyond His circumstance and how His body must have felt at the time, and keeps His trust on the One who set the world into motion.
Close your eyes and begin to breathe in and out deeply. Once you get a rhythm begin to say or think “Abba” when you breathe in, and “I belong to you” when you breathe out. The next time you feel anxious, see if this practice helps lead you back at home in God’s love.
Lord, I fully realize that there are circumstances in my life that occur that make me feel like things are out of my control. Help me to see that my trust should not be in any circumstance or even in my sense of control, but my trust should be in You. For You, are my direction Home! Help us to live this out in the here and now. Amen