Monday, November 5, 2012

Hope begins in the dark

“The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, 
and he remained in the desert for forty days, 
tempted by Satan.” [Mark 1: 12]

Qumran, Israel, 2012

I was a 19-year-old college student at the University of Texas the first time I really “got” the reality that Jesus was fully human, like me—that He experienced the full range of emotions, desires, even temptations that I do.  I was blown away by the Truth of that statement!

God so loved the world, so loved ME, that He sent His Son to become one of us in all ways but sin.  As author and poet Kathleen Norris points out, the incarnation is, indeed, a scandalous affair! There’s so much to ponder about this generous and extravagant Love.

Today I find myself finding hope in this awareness, in this Jesus Christ. When I am tempted to give in to negativity, I am encouraged to know that Jesus knows how it feels. When I am tempted to stop believing in the purpose of my life, I remember Jesus gets it. On the days when I’m tempted to stay in bed and give up altogether, I turn to Jesus with my ache and my sorrow. When I start listening to the voices of despair and I am tempted to doubt myself, I find hope in remembering that my Lord has experienced this darkness, too.

Whatever I am feeling, even the darkness of temptation, I can humbly bring to Jesus with confidence that he truly understands. Not in some heady, theological way, but with His full experience of humanity. And I can follow Jesus’ example at a time of temptation, turning to God, His Father and MY Father, and trusting Him without reservation for all of my needs.