LENT Day 19 – Wilderness

So Jesus no longer went out in public among the Jews.  He withdrew into the country bordering the desert to a town called Ephraim and secluded himself there with his disciples.  – John 11 (The Man Who Creates God-Signs)

There seems to be no better example of living in a wilderness than right now.  It doesn’t matter what country on this globe you live in – we are all learning to wrap our minds around living in a wilderness.

That was a turnaround for many of the Jews who were with Mary.  They saw what Jesus did (to Lazarus), and believed in him.  But some went back to the Pharisees and told on Jesus.  The high priests and Pharisees called a meeting of the Jewish ruling body.  “What do we do now?”  they asked.  “This man keeps on doing things, creating God-signs.  If we let him go on, pretty soon everyone will be believing in him and the Romans will come and remove what little power and privilege we still have.”

Then one of them – it was Caiaphas, the designated Chief Priest that year – spoke up, “Don’t you know anything?  Can’t you see that it’s to our advantage that one man dies for the people rather than the whole nation be destroyed?”  He didn’t say this of his own accord, but as Chief Priest that year he unwittingly prophesied that Jesus was about to die sacrificially for the nation, and not only for the nation but so that all God’s exile-scattered children might be gathered together into one people.  

From that day on, they plotted to kill him.  So Jesus no longer went out in public among the Jews.  He withdrew into the country bordering the desert to a town called Ephraim and secluded himself there with his disciples

The Jewish Passover was coming up.  Crowds of people were making their way from the country up to Jerusalem to get themselves ready for the Feast.  They were curious about Jesus.  There was a lot of talk of him among those standing around in the Temple:  “What do you think?  Do you think he’ll show up at the Feast or not?”

Meanwhile, the high priests and Pharisees gave out the word that anyone getting wind of him should inform them.  They were all set to arrest him.

The photo of the graph above is my husband’s view of wilderness right now.  He is a trader and as you may know, his livelihood is unknown right now.  The stock market is proving to be a little like living in the wilderness.

My 17 year old who wants to continue to socialize with friends and feels like the virus isn’t as big of a deal as we think.  To come to terms with the social distancing her parents put in place is a little like living in the wilderness.

Me – I’ve never spent so much time in a row in my home without going places.  I don’t remember the last time I had a week without having to get one child here and another there.  It’s like living in the wilderness.

My sisters and I having conversations with our parents to PLEASE stop socializing for their health and well being.  For wanting our parents to be safe without them getting upset.  It’s not about nagging.  It’s about wanting our parents to know we care and want what’s best for them and their lives when they are in the high risk age group that this virus seems to hit hardest.  It’s like living in the wilderness.

But again our story in John 11 today couldn’t be more perfect.  Jesus himself knows exactly what it feels like to live in the wilderness.  To live in the unknown.  He knew what he was placed on this earth to do – but he was human too.  He had to have been terrified for his life because of what was happening around him.  So yes – Jesus knows EXACTLY what it feels like to live in the wilderness.  To live in seclusion and to have to socially distance himself from others.  There isn’t another person that loved the human race more than Jesus.  It must have been frustrating and irritating to have to seclude himself away from those who needed him the most.  But he did it.  For the good of himself and the reason he was here.  He did it.  He lived in the wilderness.  That means all of us can live in this socially distanced seclusion too.

Today we can rest completely at the feet of Jesus and not just because he is our Lord and Savior.  But because he loves us completely and knows exactly what it’s like to seclude himself in the wilderness.  When we have to stay at home with just our family members.  When we have to sacrifice our jobs and our entertainment.  When we have to fight the urge to fall into our deepest, darkest fears.  That’s now and He will not leave our sides during this unknown time.  We can  take great pleasure in knowing that and fill our hearts with his calming peace.

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