Monday, April 14, 2014

Sent to the Desert - Mark 1:12-13

Chalkboard: Mark 1:12-13
Forty days.  Desert.  Wild animals.  Tempted by Satan. (Mark 1:12-13).  By day Five I would have been wondering where I had gone wrong.  Did I misunderstand?  Did I blunder into this desert by accident, or  - worse - did I miss God or ignore Him?  What have I done wrong that I am in this place?

Eventually I would have started having those thoughts:  "God must be mad at me." Or  "God must not love me."

I guess it IS a good idea to ask if I've missed God or done something wrong or if I've fallen into sin, because I know I'm capable of blundering into a desert on my own.

Maybe I'm even hoping it's the wrong place.  Because if I'm not really supposed to be here, You'll realize the mistake and get me out somehow.

But:  The Father had just finished declaring His love for the Son when Jesus was sent to the desert. (Mark 1:11-12)

Just because I don't like it, doesn't mean I missed the path.  It's so easy to think, "I must have misunderstood" or "I must have done something wrong" or "Maybe God is punishing me" or "He's mad at me" or "Why have You forsaken me?"

But a hard place isn't necessarily the wrong place.  

The right place for You meant leaving a place of glory and righteousness and coming to live where You were surrounded by the ravages that our rebellion had inflicted on ourselves and on this glorious world that You once created so lovingly.  

It meant a baptism that You (personally) didn't need and a visit to the desert; and I wonder if You were thirsty, so thirsty for the Father's presence and the glory You had left? 

It meant dealing with "wild animals" - their hate and lust to rip their prey - You - to shreds...wild because they had forgotten and refused to remember who You were...

It meant taking my sins on Yourself and dying for this wild animal so that I might have the chance to remember that life wasn't always a desert and doesn't have to be, so that I might taste the love and glory You thirsted for in Your dreams every night You were here.

We were Your desert, together with this land we pulled down with us into our folly - into our nightmare.  We were Your wild animals.

You entered this our desert -  my desert - on purpose.  The Spirit sent You here.  Hard?  Uncomfortable?  But where You were supposed to be, where You had to be - if there was to be any help or hope for me.

I don't know if or how my own deserts help and give hope to someone.   

But how will I find out if I refuse them?

And how can I refuse the desert, when You did not?  

And how can I say my desert means You don't love me
when Your love for me took You through the worst desert of all - so that I would never go through a desert alone?

There is a strange, special beauty in the desert.  

You had angels minister to You

And I

Have You.   

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  1. I hadn't thought about being called to the desert. Jesus certainly was called to be there. If I have to be in the desert for a season, I want to have God with me, as Jesus was with the Father during that time of suffering and loneliness. Since arriving back in the US to live full-time, I confess I have been lonely. I guess that's a bit like the desert. I hope I can remember to invite God to be with me in this desert experience. Thanks for a thoughtful posting.

    1. I would definitely say that being lonely is a desert of its own kind. I'm imagining how I would/(will?) feel, and I can see that even if I was surrounded by friends there would still be an element of loneliness just because your experience is unique. I'm sorry you've been lonely, but I pray that there will be a sweetness in your desert as He walks through it with you. And that when you look back, you will see how it was part of your calling.

      I went through a desert of sorts not too long ago with my health (not too long before the post :-). It seems to me that a desert isn't a place that you really thrive, but it builds endurance so that when you have survived it, you are ready to thrive when the rain comes. Although, as I'm writing I'm realizing that there are some plants and animals that are made for the desert and DO thrive there. I'm not going to hope that I'm one of them (yikes!) but if I was to find that I AM, I hope I would remember that I can thrive even there if He is with me. (Still, I continue to hope that all my deserts are "passing through").

  2. Michele, thank you so much for linking up with Velvet Ashes this week.
    I love this line, "And how can I refuse the desert, when You did not?" So often our hard places are directly linked to Him revealing more of Himself to us as we fellowship in the sharing of His suffering.
    God meets us in those desert places - "And I have You". Beautiful!!

    1. Thank you, Patty! I've been enjoying Velvet Ashes and the Grove since I first started visiting in the fall. It's been a blessing. I wish I had more time to browse and participate, (time! sigh).

      It seems we so often tend to think that hard places are wrong turns and places to escape from, rather than considering the possibility that we might have been sent to them as part of the journey of knowing Him.

      I always have Him!! No matter what happens!