The first Sunday of Lent always takes us to the desert. Today we hear Matthew’s version of Christ’s temptation from Chapter 4: 1-11. It is a testing and formidable place.
In this barren landscape nothing comes between the person and their God. One either discovers God or succumbs to despair. No life thrives here except the inner life. It is the place where we respond to the inner search and longing within our hearts. Each of us experience the intensity of the desert in different ways but it is still the desert where we are faced with choosing a path that leads to an oasis of life or a path that leads to a fleeting mirage.
It was the Spirit that drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained there for forty days. After facing head on the inner turmoil going on inside him and the temptation to give up, he was able to hone and clarify his mission. Our task too is to be like him and to allow ourselves to be led by the Spirit where we can confront the devils that haunt our lives, and like him too, triumph over them. He is with us. He is on our side and he understands what we are going through because he has been there before us.
Eagles Wings from ‘Truly Blessed’ is a beautiful song of encouragement when we find ourselves in those desert places, confronted, vulnerable and alone.
You need not fear the terror of the night
Or the arrow that flies by day
Under his wings your refuge
His faithfulness your shield
For to his angels his given a command to guard you
in all of your ways
Upon their hands
They will bear you up
Lest you dash your feet against a stone.