At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert
to be tempted by the devil. Matthew 4:1
Chronic pain is probably the most distracting, tiring, energy-draining, hope-depleting experience I’ve ever had. Last night’s wakefulness kept me struggling to put my focus on God. “Help!” was as complicated as my prayers got.
Whether or not I believe God is with me in the desert of pain, God is there. Whether or not I can feel God in the bleakness of pain, God is there. Whether or not I continue to experience physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual pain, God is there. In the moment, in the pain, in the prayer.
I told the devil last night, “You ain’t gonna get me yet.”
When John the Baptist heard in prison of the works of the Christ, he sent his disciples to Jesus with this question, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” Matthew 11:2-3
I imagine John the Baptist had some moments of stress in prison, wondering what would happen to the work he’d begun. To know that Jesus was busy healing those who were blind, lame, deaf, lepers, or poor opened his eyes to recognize the Christ, and meant he could let go and surrender everything to Jesus.
My own worries – big and small, world-centered and self-centered – take up a lot of time and energy. Maybe this Advent I will have the courage to surrender everything to Jesus.
[Jesus] answered, “When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified.” Luke 21:9a
I am terrified that I am a mistake, a bother, a nuisance. My inner wars have me doubting my self-worth and wishing I were perfect. I rebel against physical pain, mental fatigue, and getting older. I wage an ongoing battle between gratitude for my many blessings and wanting what I don’t have.
The only answer to war, insurrections, and terror that I have found is complete and unconditional surrender to God’s love. Moment by moment.