Here is the next submission:
PROVISION IN THE WILDERNESS
“It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ . . . ‘ Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ . . . ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’ . . . and suddenly angels came and waited on him.” (Matthew 4:1-11; 14:16).
After Jesus was baptized, as the Voice blessed him, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased,” He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness where He encountered the Tempter. That wily voice appealed to the imagination of Jesus with descriptions of fresh bread nearby, popular appeal and applause, and power and wealth. Yet in response to each temptation, Jesus responded, “It is written,” and then quoted from the Hebrew scriptures. Jesus had been well educated in Hebrew school to know the scriptures, and He recalled them in the moment of crisis.
When we face temptations that lure us away from loving and serving God first, to serve or protect ourselves, we too have resources. We too have the Hebrew and Christian scriptures to know and keep in our hearts. We too have the resources of our upbringing, the resources of other people who have spoken words of loving encouragement and those who have been mentors, God-given gifts, and the resources of the community of faith. Are there ways we can nurture our resources? Discovering more of the Bible? Reading it as God’s love letter to us and to the world? Spending time during Lent reflecting on God’s Unconditional Love as revealed in Jesus and His journey to The Cross is one immediate way of strengthening our spiritual resources.
God has many ways of providing for us in the wilderness experiences we go through. God sent angels to minister to Jesus in the wilderness, perhaps a delightful surprise when the view seemed bleak and desolate. God may minister to us in surprising ways as well. How has God ministered to us during dry times? The beautiful economy of God blesses us so that we can minister to others. When the disciples noted that the crowds were getting hungry, Jesus said, “You give them something to eat.” As the angels provided for Jesus in the wilderness, followers of Jesus can work with the angels to provide for others in need. That is God’s way of spreading Unconditional Love as Jesus did.
PRAYER: Generous God, thank You for providing all we need for living, even in the wilderness. Help us to turn to You in times of need, and like Jesus’ disciples, to notice the needs of others and to be willing to pass on provisions from Your generous heart. In the Name of Jesus we pray, Amen.