First, a disclaimer. This photo is not of Israel. It is a photo Love Bug took on a visit to friends.
It is a photo of a barren inhospitable land seduced by evil to ease the life of hardness in an unyielding land.
This is where we lived for a season. A barren inhospitable land. Little vegetation, little water, little air. It was high up above sea level. Some cultures and religious practices build on the high places to be closer to God. This one was no exception. In fact, it could be a prime example.
But the temples and prayer poles do them no good in this barren land.
Lent is a time of preparation for us. Easter or “Resurrection” Day is a key celebration in the life of the church and believer. I love it! The reminders of the depth of God and His sovereignty, of the sacrifice to come. Of the hope that is ours today!
Then I remember. Forty days of desert. Forty days. No water, no food. Time of preparation for the Messiah, for the man who would be leaving the desert for Jerusalem. It would take three years to get to Calvary and the tomb. It would take three years for Him to make it home. Jerusalem is among many things, the symbol of heaven, the forever place for us with Him. Jesus showed us the way, the way to Jerusalem.
But first, forty days of taunts from Satan, the fallen angel that took about one-third of the angels with him. The deceived ones led by the Deceiver himself. The physical temptations. The spiritual temptations. The humanness of it all. The Deceiver and liar threw every temptation out. If you don’t see yours, look again, between the lines. It is there. Jesus deflected them with the Word. Spoken and recorded for us to know exactly how to face the barrenness of taunting and temptations.
The desert full of valley and high places was essential to His preparedness, for us to understand, He was a man and He was like us.
Later, He often would go off to separate places of solitude to pray, to prepare for the next thing. And ultimately the next thing was the horror of the cross.
This Lenten thing I am being to suspect is a hard thing, to glimpse into the desert of temptation and preparation. As I look at this photo of this unyielding land, any temptation to get out of it and away from the hard things would be very attractive. Not that a believer is to live in barrenness, on the contrary. Yet part of our spiritual journey does include a landscape of hard, of barren and temptations to flee.
Does it expose my own unwillingness to yield? Or do I deflect the temptation to run with the Word and with call to Him for help and reminders of His forever presence? Strangely, I am still willing to glimpse and with great hesitation, to go there but only with Him.