Sunday, February 17, 2013

Luke 4:2 Into the Wilderness

After Jesus was baptized in the Jordan by John the Baptist, scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit led him out into the wilderness for 40 days.  For those who are about to be baptized into the Catholic Church, there is much to learn from this passage and much to reflect upon for your own journey.  Here are the things that come from being led into the wilderness:

1. Trust

There is no security in the wilderness. Nothing is certain, nothing is definite, and even the way forward is obscured.  You have no clear picture of what is coming up ahead of you. All you know for sure is that you are here, and that you have no idea where you are going next. Your only certainty is the promise of God that He will work all things for your good and His glory.

2. Patience

Time in the wilderness seems to pass slowly as you wait and wait and wait for God's deliverance, for His will to be revealed, for the next step to take.  It can seem as if He is never coming, never going to answer your pleas, as if He isn't listening.  You might be saying to yourself these words from Psalm 13:1 "How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?"  Every time you question, though, your heart reminds you  "But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint." - Isaiah 40:31

3. Gratitude

Entering into the wilderness means we must leave behind what was comfortable and easy into what is difficult and challenging.  We become aware of the many blessings we had in our lives, the things we took for granted.  We are reminded of the fact that what we have in this life is only temporary, and we must appreciate what is good while it is still here.

4. Fortitude

There are plenty of temptations that come in the wilderness times.  Resisting these temptations builds our spiritual muscles, preparing us for the work we have ahead of us.

Jesus was led into the wilderness for 40 days right before God gave Him the most important task of His life - the building of the Church's foundations.  He was the corner stone, but first even He had to be shaped and prepared.   God didn't lead us into the wilderness to abandon us, but to prepare us for something greater that He wants of us.  The wilderness time is a time for preparation, for growth, and for renewal.  It is the fastest teacher if we are open to its lessons.  The next time you find yourself in a wilderness moment, when your pain and suffering seem endless, reflect on this and know that God is with you.

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