Yes - another wildernessy picture this week! Our Lent readings (Lectio 365 fans will recognise the inspiration!) cause us to reflect on this idea, especially in this current lockdown. We don't yet know when it will end and we're deprived of some precious things - there's a wilderness feel to it.
We read in Matthew 4:1 that it was the Spirit who led Jesus into the wilderness. I find it surprising - surely God doesn't lead us into positions of temptation? Well - what God does do, is allow us into situations where we can grow closer to Him, where we increase our dependence on Him. And there are a quite a few moments in the BIble where God does lead his people into wilderness for just this purpose - it was in the wilderness that God 'saw' Hagar (Gen 16:7); the Israelites wandered in the wilderness after leaving Egypt (Exo 13:17); Isaiah tells us that it's in the wilderness where God will make a way (Isa 43:19); it was in the wilderness that John the Baptist prepared people to receive
Jesus (Matt 3:1). And my favourite in Hosea 2:14, 'Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.'
We will all be hoping that next week brings news of the start of the end of lockdown. But let's do our best to embrace wilderness, however tough it is, and let God speak tenderly to us here.
Here's the whole newsletter: Newsletter 180221