Are you willing to be driven into the wilderness?

When we went to the Holy Land in January one of the things I looked forward to sharing with our group the most was the “wilderness.” It was where Jesus was driven by the Holy Spirit after his baptism in the Jordan River.

Frankly, I’ll never forget the breathtaking moment five years ago when my group and I rounded the curve in our bus and there it was . . . . this vast expanse of nothingness. Just HUGE barren mountains . . . as far as the eye could see.

I wanted our group to “feel” that. To get that when Jesus was there, it had to be overwhelming and even scary. Yet, that is where he faced his temptations and he withstood every one. And we have the power to do the same.

The bus stopped before we rounded the final curve. We were encouraged to get a snack, hug the camel, go shopping for a few minutes, and “look around at the wilderness.”

I didn’t understand because we were not IN the wilderness. We could see it ahead, but we weren’t there yet! I approached our guide and asked if we were going to take the trail up the mountain and actually GO into the wilderness. She shared that the pastor that set the itinerary didn’t want to make that walk.

Hmmmmmmm.

I doubt ANY of us WANT to go to the wilderness. Yet, it is in the wilderness that God does some of God’s greatest work!

The Gospel of Mark uses a strong Greek verb to say that the Spirit “drove” Jesus into the wilderness. Jesus didn’t exactly “choose” it . . . . the Spirit compelled him to go!

Throughout scripture the wilderness is more than just some barren rocks. It is the place where people confront the relentless power of temptation, question and wrestle with who they are, where they are going, and how they are going to get there.

It is the barren, ​seemingly​ empty place between where we’ve been and where we are going.
It is the ​allegedly​ desolate place between our familiar, comfortable, past and an uncomfortable, risky

future.

Yes, it LOOKS empty. But is it?

In the wilderness, God meets us there. Just like God met Jesus. Jesus did not venture into the wilderness alone and neither do we.

As we journey into the soul searching place where we wrestle with the temptation to settle for what is less than God’s best for us, let us remember we never have to wrestle with that alone.

What do you need to wrestle with in the wilderness?

Let us stand willing and vulnerable in the presence of God, and experience God shaking things up in our wilderness. May we not be afraid to journey there, lest we feel alone.

Mark 1:9-11 The Message (MSG)

9-11 At this time, Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. The moment he came out of the water, he saw the sky split open and God’s Spirit, looking like a dove, come down on him. Along with the Spirit, a voice: “You are my Son, chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life.”

[ ​The Rescue​ ] All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4​ ​MSG

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