By Fernie Rivera
Pastor of Contemporary and Emerging Worship
First United Methodist Church
Baton Rouge, LA
Last year while in the Holy Land, we were taken to the place where many believe Jesus would have been tempted. And as I stared off at the mountain, all I could do was picture the scene that is painted for us in the Gospel of Mark: he was in the wilderness where the wild beasts are, being tempted by Satan.
During this Lenten season, we all journey through a wilderness of our own, surrounded by wild beasts and temptation. For some, temptation comes as we struggle through our marriage or broken relationships; it shows up in our dissatisfaction with where life had led us. Temptation shows up in many forms. And at times we face wild beasts such as depression, anxiety, worry, fear and so many other emotions that seem to just come at us out of nowhere. The wilderness can seem overwhelming.
But there is hope.
The author reminds us that in the wilderness, in the middle of temptation and wild beasts, in the middle of all the things we will ever face, are the angels. You see, the angels remind us that in the middle of the struggles of life, we are always surrounded by God. While the wilderness can seem overwhelming and unpleasant, the presence of the angels reminds us that even in the biggest struggles of life God is present.
This Lenten season, I pray that you may be reminded that no matter how dark and overwhelming the wilderness may look like in your life, the angels are surrounding you. God’s love, peace, grace, mercy, hope and everything we need to journey through the wilderness is found in the presence of the angels.
Prayer: Gracious and loving God as we journey through the wilderness of life, we know that it is so easy to get caught up in the struggles we face. But may we never lose focus that even in those moments, your angels are always present, reminding us of your love, which leads us through the wilderness.
1. What does the wilderness look like for you this Lenten season?
2. Where do you see “angels” surrounding you in the middle of the wilderness?
3. How will you share God’s love, grace, peace and mercy by being an “angel” to someone who is journeying through the wilderness?