How many of you have ever traveled through a desert? Most people like myself have never literally traveled through a desert physically but, we’ve all experienced traveling through situational deserts in our lives. Deserts are surprisingly diverse and one might picture it as being a sandy, hot place, but some deserts are snowy and cold, like the polar desert of Antarctica. Likewise, deserts can be small rather than stereotypically vast. Despite their variety, they hold one thing in common: all deserts are dry. And traveling through a desert leaves us dried up, thirsty, and parched.
The good news is that desert moment experiences aren’t meant to break us but they are intended to test and fortify us.
In the gospels of Matthew (4:1-11), Mark (1:9-13), and Luke (4:1-13) we learn that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, filled with the Holy Spirit and was led by God’s Spirit into the Judaean desert to be tempted by the devil for 40 days and nights. It was in this desert that Jesus’ identity was established as the Son of man and His authority as the Son of God to overcome the works and attacks of the world, His flesh, and the enemy. Notice, His desert moment experience took place before the launch of His 3 year ministry. Also, not one single miracle was preformed and not one single parable was spoken until after traveled through this desert.
His plight and latter victory over the temptations in the desert reveals that Jesus is fully one of us; He experienced hunger, fatigue, and weariness in a very physical desert. And just like us, He experienced temptations. Yet, as fully God, He does not fall into sin, He does not fail, and He does not succumb to the temptations of the devil. Truly, Jesus reveals to us what it means to live out one’s humanity in the midst of the physicality of temptation, as well as how to lean on the divine, a reality we all share in as creatures made in the image and likeness of God.
With all that said, I officially dub this year, ‘Desert Storm 2020’ and I believe that God is getting ready to reboot families, churches, and communities across the globe. I am not an IT expert, but the first thing they will suggest to an end user experiences computer related issues is to shut the device down and reboot it! I am told that when this action is perform it refreshes all the drivers in the system and it also flushes out all the random, unimportant, and temporary data bogging down the device.
Brothers and Sisters, my point of encouragement for you and me is to embrace the journey and don’t quit. Although the desert represents barriers, obstacles and challenges; it also represents preparation (Deut 29:5-6), separation, inspiration, revelation, and elevation (Exodus 19:2-6). So don’t be disappointed if today we set foot on the road that God called us to travel doesn’t immediately lead us out of desert storm 2020. I am unequivocally convinced that for those in Christ Jesus all roads will eventually lead us to God. That is, after all, the purpose of the ‘desert’ in the lives of God’s people and just like Jesus, we too were led into the desert, so that God might bring us to Himself (Luke 4:18-19).