Pause

Notice your breathing.

With each breath, become aware of the love with which God looks at you in this moment.

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Listen

Jesus returned from the Jordan River full of the Holy Spirit, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. There he was tempted for forty days by the devil. He ate nothing during those days and afterward Jesus was starving. The devil said to him, “Since you are God’s Son, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.”

Jesus replied, “It’s written, People won’t live only by bread.”

Luke 4:1-4

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Think

Mountain views. Starry skies. Long pristine beaches. New England forests. To me, that’s wilderness. A gift. Natural beauty. Unspoiled creation that’s a treasure. My family donates to conservation organizations in order to preserve it.

Jesus wasn’t in that kind of wilderness. His was the barren, dusty brown land beyond the Jordan River. It was arid and dangerous. A place where animals and plants struggled to stay alive.

This wilderness is a metaphor for the places of struggle we all find ourselves in sometimes.

Jesus had just come from the mountain-top experience of his baptism, where the sky opened up and God’s voice said, “This is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased.” And now he is in the wilderness. This is one of the incidents from Jesus’ life where you can see his full humanity. The scripture says he was “hungry” and he was “tempted.” Like he did in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus struggled here in the wilderness.

Do you find yourself journeying with Jesus in the wilderness today?

Jane Hartwell

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Pray

Jesus, when I am struggling, I know that you understand me. You struggled too. Be my companion and guide. Amen.

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Go

Whenever you find yourself journeying through a wilderness,

struggling with temptation, with weakness,

fearful of the shadows in your heart,

remember the words of Paul:

“I’m convinced that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord: not death or life, not angels or rulers, not present things or future things, not powers or height or depth, or any other thing that is created.”

Romans 8:38-39

Jane Hartwell

Jane Hartwell was the Youth Missioner for the Episcopal Diocese of Maine, where she enjoyed creating retreats with teens. She lives in Portland, Maine.

O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go

Mark Hayes

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