The Bible study that my hubby and I attend, recently focused on the temptation of Jesus, out in the wilderness, found in Matthew. There are certain aspects of that account, that always jump out at me.
One is that Satan doesn’t even go after Jesus until He’s at His weakest, nothing to eat for forty days. I mean, let’s face it, most of us get cranky when we have to do fasting blood work. The first thing he tries to get Jesus to do is to turn rocks into bread and alleviate His suffering.
I think that scenario is true for many of us. We are often not tempted to sin when everything is going well, but when we are tired, in pain, lonely, or desperate for relief, that’s when we can become targets. I always find the temptation story an important reminder that Jesus, Himself was tempted, so He gets it when we are too. But, that’s also when we can cling tightly to, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13
My pastor put a new angle on the account that I hadn’t thought of before. He pointed out that the angels didn’t appear to help, that the supernatural didn’t enter into the fray, until Jesus resisted the temptation on His own. We don’t find the angels attending to Him until He tells the devil, “no.”
My pastor asked us if we had ever found ourselves in a dark situation and wondered if God was really there. Was God really listening? Did He even care?
These questions gave me some serious food for thought.
I can say in my own faith walk that there have been times when God has seemed silent, times when I desperately wanted answers and none seemed to come.
As I look back on those times, I can see that God used them to grow my faith. Do we believe that God is at work when all seems lost? Do we believe that He walks with us when we are at our lowest? Do we believe that He’s present when we see no evidence of it?
When we can answer that question with a yes, our faith grows, which is what it is supposed to do. We can tell our children all day long that they can ride a bike without training wheels, but at some point, we have to let go so they can see for themselves. After they complete that ride, we celebrate with them with some major pride and joy.
Maybe our faith walk is the same. Maybe from time-to-time, God lets go so that we can see how much He has taught us and how much we have grown. Like any good father, He’s close by and afterwards, He celebrates with us and shows us something new and special that we couldn’t have possibly understood or appreciated without the struggle.
That little nugget just happened to be something I needed to wrap my heart and mind around. Perhaps you needed to as well.
Have an awesome day!