The morning after we arrived at the remote mountain cabin for a three-day stay, our children woke up at 6:00 a.m. and decided to go sledding. “The hill they were going to was nearby” I reasoned, “they’ll be fine by themselves for awhile especially with our Samoyed dog there to protect them.” At 6:17 a.m. I sprang from the bed with panicked barking heard in the distance and the kids were nowhere in sight. At 6:19 a.m. I found them lost, cold, shivering, and tearful just a short distance away from the safety of the cabin.
Have you ever been lost in the wilderness? Perhaps you were on a hike, decided to stray from the main path and found yourself unfamiliar with the environment, directionless, and afraid. It’s a difficult place to be. Whether you’re in the wilderness, the desert, or the barren land, it’s all the same; it’s a lonely place of isolation where dangers abound. There are wild animals, food is scarce, the heat of the day saps your energy and the cold of the night chills you to the bone. Lost in the wilderness, your mind starts to play tricks on you and an inner voice begins to convince you that you’re going to die. It’s a situation most of us avoid by walking on the main path most of our lives and not straying from our comfort zones.
But, not Jesus. Jesus took the road less traveled. In fact, after the coronation of his baptism and the affirming words, “you are my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased,” where do you think Jesus went? To the wilderness. To the desert. To the barren lands. To face temptations. In these last days of Lent with Holy Week around the corner, you are challenged to stray from the safe and well-trod paths you normally follow and dare to enter into an inner journey, to the barren land of your soul.
“The most difficult mountain to cross is the threshold” ~A Danish proverb
“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit,
as vital to our lives as bread and water.” – Edward Abby
A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. “Let every valley be lifted up, And every mountain and hill be made low; And let the rough ground become a plain, And the rugged terrain a broad valley; Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, -Isaiah 40:3-5