Lydia Keesmaat Walsh is a camper and S.W.i.M. (Student Working in Mission) volunteer, learning more about the ministry at Camp Fowler.
In the wilderness, Jesus encounters three things—things that tell us not only about Jesus, but about the wilderness. First we learn that he was tempted by the devil. Here we see that the wilderness is a dangerous place, a place where you can forget who you are, where you can completely lose your way. Next we hear that Jesus is with the wild beasts. But they don’t seem to be a threat to him—he is living in communion with them, showing that the wilderness can become a place of communion as well—a place where you can find your true self, in communion with creation. And third, he is ministered to by the angels. This should be a reminder to us that, even for Jesus, the wilderness can be a place of total dependence where you can be ministered to, just as Israel was ministered to during the exodus. So the wilderness here is a place of deep spiritual meaning and closeness with God.
I think that at some point in our life we all find ourselves in the wilderness. We struggle with temptation; we feel totally, completely lost; sometimes we feel as if we don’t even know who we are. And in those times of wilderness it’s important not to focus on that first aspect of the wilderness, but to look for the community that Jesus found in creation. Go for a walk, watch the sunset, sit outside with a handful of birdseed and see who comes for a snack. And trust God that he will care for you as he cared for the Israelites after leading them out of Egypt. Find that communion with creation, find who you really are, and you will find your true calling, your true self, and your way home.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, here in this wilderness of life, help us to turn our backs on the evil and embrace the good. Help us to enter into communion with creation and a trusting relationship with you.
For this year’s Lent devotions, the days follow the Common Lectionary texts. Each author was invited to:
Read the passage.
Read a couple passages before and after the assigned day.
Do something else for the day, keeping the passage in mind.
Find a word/phrase/concept that connects with your own experience. Reflect on that.
You are encouraged to do the same.