What happens when we find ourselves cast adrift from all that usually tethers us, stripped of our usual comforts and agency? This week we are reflecting on how experiencing the wilderness can shape our understanding of who God is and who we are.
We read in the bible that time spent in the wilderness has often been instrumental in shaping god’s people and their leaders. From the stories of Moses, Elijah and the Israelites to Jesus himself, the desert was a place they found not only deprivation and temptation but also intimacy and renewed dependence on God.
This week we invite you to reflect on those places of barrenness and uncertainty in a new way. Acknowledging the struggle but opening ourselves up for encounter with the God who wanders with us in the desert and will always provide.
Jesus is tested in the wilderness
4 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting for 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.”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him 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.”
7 Jesus answered him, ‘It is also written: “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour. 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.”
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
Take a look at our notes on practicing visio divina from last week then take some time to reflect with this short film.
How can we trust God more in our suffering and pain?
Are we willing to lay it all down and trust in him?
What is our desert place, and what are we being tempted with?
– Bring all these things before God, praying into his provision and strength-
God of the empty plains
Would you remind us of your fullness.
May our hunger for more, our yearning to feel satisfied
Be met with the abundance of knowing you.
God of the baking desert sands
Would you lead us to wells of fresh water.
When we are parched and dry from traversing
Bring us the refreshment we need to carry on.
God of the vast expanse
Would you grant us rest and new strength
Where we have grown tired and despondent
May we lean more fully on your power and protection.
God of the uncharted territory
Would you guide us in the unknown.
Take our loss and confusion, our desperation for an end in sight
Help us journey through the strange and unfamiliar.
God of the desolate wasteland
Would you remind us we are not forgotten
Even as we feel the hurt of loneliness and isolation
May we know your presence with us day and night.