Author: Sallie Ross
In the desert they gave in to their craving; in the wasteland they put God to the test. Psalm 106:14
The desert is a tough place. There is very little to distract us from what might be going through our minds. And since there is very little distraction, there is often very much longing.
When we look at what we don’t have, that is what fills us. We examine the vacuum and can articulate our emptiness with astounding clarity. We know what we don’t have, and we want it, and our wanting increases as our lack of distraction remains.
Jesus was tempted in the wilderness. In Mark 1 we read the words:
“At once the Spirit sent Him out into the desert, and He was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals and angels attended Him.” In other accounts we read of the specific temptations that Satan voiced to Jesus, and each temptation was responded to with the Word of God. And then Satan leaves Jesus for the time being.
Jesus was attended by angels; we are attended by the Holy Spirit who lives within us. We choose our focus, and in so doing we choose our temptations. I remember once hearing someone say that you can’t be tempted by anything if you don’t focus on it.
That has certainly played out in my own life.
The desert is a tough place to be left with our longings. By the power of the Holy Spirit and by the life that exists in the Word of God, we are able to notice that cactuses have blossoms and sometimes even in the parched places, there is water. Jesus is with us in the desert: “If anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink.” John 7:37
–Lord Jesus, You know where I am dry and where I am tempted. I give such thanks that You don’t leave me in those places. But often I leave You. Lord I need eyes that notice life, even in the midst of dryness. I need a heart that courts hope rather than despair. I need You. I am thirsty, Lord, let me come to You and drink.