And at once the Spirit drove him into the desert. Mark 1:12
Jesus had just been confirmed as the Son of God by the Heavenly Father Himself. The Holy Spirit came down upon him as he came up out of the water. Indeed, the very heavens wer torn apart as he arose from being baptized by John. We think we have “arrived” when we earn a college degree, get a promotion at work, or marry that special person. What greater arrival could this man from Nazareth receive than to have the heavens and total holiness speak and act on his behalf!
The moment of arrival is followed by many days of testing in a desolate land. We all seek the pinnacles of praise and honor. But, we often ignore and avoid the deserts of examination. These are not pleasant places. Along the Jordan, the place of the moment of arrival, there is the support of others and sustaining resources. The desert has no river, lush plant life, and few people live there. John sang his praises before he came to the river. Satan waited to bring him down in the hot sands. The same Spirit that fell on Jesus in the great confirmation now brought him to a place of a much longer confrontation.
It is immature for the Christian to believe that the faith is a hedge against difficulty. As if having the Holy Spirit is a guarantor of ease and pleasure. If Jesus can be compelled to go to a place of desolate examination, who are we not to expect the same? No, the Spirit will take us from our moments of arrival and send us to our many days of testing. We are not exempt from such trials.
But, be encouraged. In the words of the old Negro Spiritual, “Trouble don’t last always.” No matter what deserts the Spirit leads us to or what demon awaits to tempt us, it is only for a designated time. Be encouraged. Although the lions, venomous serpents, and other creatures were in the desert with Jesus, they didn’t attack him. The Spirit that leads us to the test gives us protection through the test. There was no disciple even made at this time, much less one present that could abandon him (as they did later). God provided his holy messengers who could only do as directed, to keep him during the time in the desert. Be encouraged. The Father never leaves his children alone.
Expect your desert testing. Expect it to be longer than your Jordan arrival. Expect to be protected from destruction and assisted by a greater source. Expect to come through the test to serve a greater task.
Yours in Christ,
Brother Cyprian Bluemood
Order of Saint-Simon of Cyrene