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Matthew 4:1-11

He threw back His shoulders, lifted His chin, and walked slowly and fearlessly into the dry, barren land. There was determination evident in His walk, His posture, His eyes, the set of His mouth.

As He looked at the utter desolation of the place, the forsaken terrain before Him, He couldn’t keep from comparing it with the beauty of home. How He missed being home! He had been gone for thirty years but the memories were vivid! Back home there were trees everywhere, shading luscious green carpets; magnificent flowers had been scattered extravagantly–like the sands of the sea–and their fragrance permeated the atmosphere. The brooks, crystalline clear, were dancing over the rocks–you could almost hear them sing! And talk about singing! The songs of the birds were filling the air, they were calling, chattering, little ones chirping, huge ones soaring in the heavens, all of their songs raised in praise and love to His Father. Yes, there was incomparable beauty everywhere at home. There was no beauty to be seen before Him in this desert. No desire to enter. No one He knew calling encouragement to Him from the endless wasteland before Him.

But this was where He was to go, the Spirit had led him to this desert. He knew that it was to be preparation for what was to come, it was to be a learning experience. He would confront evil in its vilest form, hunger and thirst, loneliness and pain. But He would be able to relate to hurting people, lonely people, tempted people–in a way that He could never have done until He passed this time of isolation in the wilderness. And He would come to know His Father’s ways. He was being transformed by His suffering.

I didn’t know that You would lead me into the desert, Lord. I just prayed to know You more completely and that You would use me to be a source of encouragement to the people around me who are hurting, lonely, and confused about You and Your ways.

But here I am–and You aren’t surprised that I’m in this desolate place. How I pray that I will learn, like Jesus did when He was isolated and hurting, about Your love, Your presence, Your strength, Your sustenance, and Your ways–Your ways are so different than what I would plan.

I will choose to accept this time in the wilderness–not fight it or resent it. I will anticipate what each day will bring, trusting You to teach me and use me as I asked You to do. And I know that I will one day be released from this time of desolation, grief, and suffering. I’ll get to go out into my world and tell everyone about You and what I learned in the desert. Or maybe I’ll get to go Home, where beauty and love will engulf me. I don’t want to waste this time–thank You for entrusting to me this awesome role of witnessing of Your presence within me.

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.