Reflection by: by April Garcia - Faculty and Recruiting Coordinator, The Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program
Amidst the busyness of our lives, we seek moments of stillness and silence. We embrace Lent’s ability to push us to reflect the same way we might embrace a peaceful hike in the mountains. Aside from a decent workout, we likely return to our everyday professional work and personal life with clarity. It can be a space for reflection and revelation.
Immediately after Baptism, the same Spirit that descended on Jesus like a dove drives him into the desert. This wilderness is a place of temptation and struggle. The Gospel notes that it is there among the wild beasts that Satan tempts him. Why was he sent? He was just baptized! It seems like the Spirit doesn’t waste any time. What was the purpose and relevance of this? How was this experience even essential for his ministry?
For he was driven, not led. Thinking back to that peaceful mountain hike, let’s consider our places of true lonesome wilderness–similar to the 40 agonizing days that Jesus suffered in the desert among the wild beasts. We rarely volunteer to go to those places. We avoid the hardship. We dodge the struggle. Yet, Jesus was driven to this miserable experience. Just like him, we are sometimes driven to these places.
I am not suggesting that God drives us to suffering or even that God wants us to struggle. Rather, I imagine that perhaps God is at work both for us and through us during these times. We should be reminded of God’s presence during the times that leave us feeling stretched beyond our abilities. The angels ministered to Jesus in the desert. We can ask for them to minister to us as well.
As we take this Lenten journey together, let us be mindful of the ways we can emerge from the wilderness renewed in faith and hope. For we are never alone.