Unlike many Christians, Jesus remembered his baptism. He saw the Holy Spirit descend as a dove, he heard God’s voice pronounce him beloved, and then he was hustled into the wilderness to be tempted. I, too, remember my baptism at the age of 12. And although I lived in the wilderness at that time, I do not recall being driven out to be tempted. That was special for Jesus.
I do, however, know that whenever I commit myself to a new ministry, or whenever I re-commit myself to God’s work after having fallen away, I do find myself in a wilderness of temptation. I’ve come to believe that this is for me, as it was for Jesus, a training ground, preparation for the work to come. It is a reminder that God’s work is not always and only about success, but is very often about the wild beasts-struggle, wrong turns, mistakes, failures.
God’s work is also about being waited on by angels-companions, forward movement, small gains and even successes. God attends us faithfully, offering all we need on whatever journey we embark.
God of the journey, you watch over us, walk with us, wait on us as we struggle to do your will and your work. Praise be to you. Amen — SB