“Testings and Temptations”

 “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit

into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”

Matthew 4:1

            After a mountain top experience, often comes the decent into the valley.    I love the song from the 60s by the Mamas and Papas, “Monday, Monday.”  I once heard Mama Cass sing, “Monday, Monday, can’t trust that day, Monday, Monday, sometimes it just turns out that way.”  The good experiences just don’t last forever.  Yesterday we pondered Jesus’ baptism and God’s affirmation of his pleasure in Jesus.  Chapter 4 opens with the Holy Spirit then leading Jesus into the wilderness.  It would appear that sometimes God “leads us” into situations that he knows will challenge our faith. That is worth pondering as we enter 2023 knowing there will be good times and for sure the rough times.  I ask if my husband with Parkinson’s will enter glory and am already grieving.  My granddaughter will enter college with all the mental challenges that will entail.  My good friend was in a car accident Sunday.  Tough times challenge our faith and Jesus was no different.  He was the Son of God but he was also the son of Mary.

         James 1 comforts me on those days when God feels distant and the clouds cover his face and tears roll down mine.

            “2 My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of  your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.

            5 If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind; 7, 8 for the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord.”

I am comforted by the assurance that God is near and not far.  His love surrounds me even as mine surrounds my husband, kids and grandkids.  I am comforted that hard times are not random and I just pulled the short straw.  PT reminds me that exercise grows strength.  And when I need help, it is just a prayer away!  May we praise God for “the whole blessing” and not just the good days this year! 

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