On the first Sunday in Lent, we hear the reading from Mark where Jesus is sent into the wilderness. Describe a ‘wilderness time’ in your life.
Painting by Nancy Stoller
Mark tells us “Jesus was sent into the wilderness, was tempted by Satan, was with wild animals, and had angels attending him.”
I too have found myself in a wilderness lately. I have no idea how I got here and more importantly wonder “why am I staying so long”. I had worked so hard to rehabilitate after my spinal surgeries. In April I was overjoyed that I had almost met my goal when the Covid-19 made its ugly appearance and my body ceased to gain strength. In my mind, my life as I knew it, had begun to end slowly. I watched my legs become weaker and weaker. Everyone was quarantined. I could not see my family or friends. I could not go to church to worship. I don’t know if I was depressed or just deeply sad. I just knew if this wilderness was a reality, and no one seemed to know how to drag me out of it, I could get lost. I often became angry with God and frequently asked God why He didn’t make it go away. Sometimes I shouted this request. Our government was in chaos with hate thriving, our schools were closed, unemployment reached a dangerous high, people were homeless and hungry and I, who had everything I needed to survive, was afraid. Soon came fires, hurricanes, floods, poverty, crime, riots, hunger, hatred, political angst ending up in horrid riots, broken friendships, loneliness, and most tragically, sick and dying people from the Covid 19. People I knew and loved were sick and people I knew and loved were dying. Was this the hand of Satan and was mankind the wild animals.?
For some reason the terror of the “Gifts” of the wilderness began to grow smaller and I was able to place my deep sadness securely into the hands of my loving God. This was a place where fears were calmed. It was time I returned to my life. The beautiful gifts of Easter were waiting. Like waking from a nightmare I finally felt the words my Mom quoted when I was fearful – “This too shall pass” and from Isaiah “For I the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”
Thank God, this is where I am now.
COLLECT OF THE DAY
Almighty and everlasting God, mercifully increase in us your gifts of holy discipline, in almsgiving, prayer and fasting; that our lives may be directed to the fulfilling of your most gracious will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
LISTEN TO "TRAMPLED ROSE"
Click on the link below to listen to Robert Plant & Alison Krauss' haunting "Trampled Rose" as a compliment to today's reflection.
Poem: "A Blessing" by James Wright