The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.
(Mark 1:12-13 ESV)
As I enter the fifth week of Lent, I wonder how Jesus felt as He endured the last weeks of His stay in the desert. Those forty days, where the Spirit carried Him out to a desolate place, the place where He was tempted by the devil. Did Jesus know it was going to be a forty day experience? He had to be hungry, tired and anxious for the time to be over. Was He tempted to walk out of the desert? What kept Him there? What keeps me stayed on this Lenten journey?
I find the duration of Lent less engaging than Advent. Advent lends itself to much anticipation. Lent lingers and opens up my soul to lament. Even though I have been focusing more on a “honeymoon” attitude this year, basking in His love, the reality of Jesus’ suffering on the way to the cross haunts me, places me in a somber mood.
Although we are no longer under the actual shadow of the cross, we feel its burden. And yet we can rejoice, because we are living in the light of His resurrection.This dichotomy of His death and resurrection, simultaneously causes me grief and joy.
Bear with me in this angst of soul, I want to come with tidings of great joy. Yet the message of the gospel embodies both death and life, in that Jesus died and Jesus lives, so I must grapple with both. And I am most thankful that He asks me to remember both, not just one or the other.
I confess that I am tempted to gloss over the rough days ahead as we anticipate the week of Jesus’ passion, (passion comes from the Latin word for suffering) and I desire to go directly to the glories of the resurrection. But there is wisdom in mourning, as it leads to comfort.
So I will rest with my Beloved, and recall His grief, as well as His triumph over death.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
(Matthew 11:28 NIV)