This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

Our wilderness path

The story of Jesus’ 40-day trial in the wilderness is so familiar to us that we can easily read through the account: “He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished” (Luke 4:2).

Jesus, the Word of God through whom all things — our bodies and our food — were made (John 1:3), experienced hunger. This is a great comfort to us when we wearily journey through our own wildernesses. Our Lord sympathizes with our weaknesses (Heb. 4:12).

During Lent, we find ourselves trying to recover from the particular griefs that often come with wintertime. The season has a way of burdening us with everything from minor illnesses to the loss of loved ones. Lent covers the emergence of spring and the hope of Easter joy to follow.

But for now we deal with the wildernesses that make us hungry and hopeful.

Surveying the North American wilderness landscape shows several gloomy scenes: a society becoming more politically polarized as injustices continue, churches consolidating as their resources shrink, seemingly irreconcilable debates over theology and practice, distressing reports of our brothers and sisters suffering around the world. Add to that our own personal struggles with illness, injury, relational conflict, finances, loss and sin, and the wilderness can seem bleak indeed.

Knowing Jesus passed through this place — and was tempted by the devil throughout (Luke 4:2) — gives us courage and hope for our own journeys. The somber season is only a season.

Whether our Lenten paths include refraining from something, adding something, quiet contemplation, bold action or all of the above, we are blessed when we hunger and thirst for righteousness. This is a time to renew our commitment to the kingdom of God, to ask what God is calling us to and to pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to respond to the call.

Spring is coming again all around us, bringing signs of new life. Now is a good time to seek that life, and its source.

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