Have you ever doubted God’s love for you or your value to him?  “Fiddler on the Roof” has several delightful scenes where the father, Tevya engages God in conversation about how God cares for him, Tevya.  “If I Were a Rich Man” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBHZFYpQ6nc grabs something we understand in our hearts.  We don’t want everything, just a little of the good life.  Later Tevya invites God “while he is in the neighborhood” to care for his horse who is lame-again.  Delightful.  The Devil tempts Jesus to test God’s love “if he is the Son of God” by throwing himself from the Temple.

“5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written,

“He will command his angels concerning you”,
    and “On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.”’ (Matthew 4:5-9)

Our faith in God is tempted when we are driven by our hungers as we pondered yesterday but also when we are overwhelmed by our problems.  We can hear that little voice on our shoulder saying that the God of the universe who has cows on a thousand hills and all power could certainly…  The “if you loved me, you would…” line are words most of us recognize.  I heard it on dates.  I’ve heard it from my kids when they are upset with me.  I have even entertained doubts about God when I am caught in circumstances that I am defeated to resolve.

         Jesus responds to the Devil, “Jesus said to him, ‘Again it is written, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”’ Again, I find comfort in James 1.

“12 Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. 13 No one, when tempted, should say, ‘I am being tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one. 14 But one is tempted by one’s own desire, being lured and enticed by it; 15 then, when that desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and that sin, when it is fully grown, gives birth to death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved.

2023 will include those moments when we are tempted to think God is testing us because he does not love us.  It is easys to think he is busy over in Ukraine or the Middle East and does not see that our horse is lame.  May we have the clarity and self honesty to realize that often those down days come from within us and our desires to be a “wealthy man.”  Blessings with your lame horse, again, today!

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