How Do You Respond to Life’s Tensions?

What do you do when a spirituality that was once vibrant seems as dim and dreary as a Seattle morning?

What do you do when the faith that once felt liberating and life giving becomes constricting and draining?

How do we live a full life in the emptiest of places?

The wilderness has been a location where people find their lives stripped down, vulnerable, and searching. It is an in-between space. You have left what was once familiar and comforting, seeking something freeing and connecting. Yet this limbo leaves us disoriented and wandering into the unknown. In order to discover a way forward we must depart from what we have known. 

Jesus is led into the wilderness by the Spirit of God. Some people go to the wilderness. Others simply find themselves there. Jesus is led by God into the wilderness. He encounters three tests from the Satan. Three enticing opportunities to fulfill God’s mission in an unfaithful way. The flashy ends do not justify the compromised means. Jesus will be faithful to live in the way of God, even when it cost him his life.

When Jesus is exhausted he allows the Story of God to uphold him in adversity. He recalls the distant past when his people, the Hebrews, were unfaithful to God in their wilderness wanderings. He remembers God’s promise to guide him through the turmoil. Jesus leans into an understanding of life as flowing from and deeply connected to God. Feelings fluctuate. Circumstances change. Life finds its Source from the Living God. Our lives must be oriented and calibrated to the Everlasting God. 

So Jesus centers himself on God’s Reality. He doesn’t deny his perceptions. He is hungry. God would catch him if he jumps. Gaining the kingdoms God has sent him to reign without going through the cross is appealing. He doesn’t deny his experience in the moment. He places his experience in perspective in light of God’s Great Story. He allows the vulnerability of his present moment to find hope, rest, and healing in God, rather than easy fixes. Jesus welcomes the challenges of every situation, circumstance, person, and inner turmoil, because he knows God will use even this present pain for his growth, and for the healing of the world.

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