“At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert, and he was in the desert for forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.” Mark 1:12-13
Lent is upon us. This can be a wonderful time to prepare our hearts for Easter, like we prepare for Christmas during the Advent season. Preparation is an important element of our Christian life. The harder the difficulties we face, the more we need to spend time with God in prayer and meditation to be able to face them. It is during that kind of time that we gather our strength and let God teach us the lessons we will need later on. Even Jesus needed to spend this kind of time with the Father: He spent 40 days in the desert fasting before He started His mission, and in the Gospels it is often said that He drew back from the crowds to pray. When He knew His death was approaching, and the most difficult trial He had yet faced, He spent the whole night in prayer, letting His will be completely aligned with the Father’s. We can use Lent as a time to focus on letting God align our wills to his and letting Him sort out our priorities so that His Kingdom will become more and more our primary concern. Traditionally, Lent was a time of fasting, just as Jesus fasted for 40 days in the desert. We, too, may fast, either in the traditional sense or in the giving up of something that distracts us in our every-day lives from what should be our main focus. There are many examples, such as Facebook, computer games, TV, music, hobbies, candy – any kind of thing that is not necessarily in itself a bad thing, but that you feel is taking hold of you and setting the agenda in your life; things that you are giving too much importance. Pray to God and let His Spirit show you what that may be in your life, the same Spirit that sent Jesus into the desert after His baptism as we read in the verse above. Don’t be surprised if it turns out rather hard. It says Jesus was tempted by Satan while He was in the desert. Whenever you take a step closer to God, the devil will fight to keep you where you are or even make you take a step away from God, and it’s good to be aware of this in order to better recognize his schemes. Jesus resisted the devil’s temptations and so can we, with God’s help. And He will help us. It says in the above passage that angels attended Jesus. God will see you through and take care of you; He’s eagerly waiting for you to approach Him and even running out to meet you. Whether you choose to fast or not, you can let this be a time when you are especially attentive to God’s voice. If you feel like you’re getting off track in your journey with God, you can stop here and start over. God is the God of new beginnings. Let Him shape you and mold you again and refresh you with His Spirit. Let Him take you by the hand and lead you further on up the road.