Why the Wilderness? by Tim Hansel

"And he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, 'This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.' Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness..." Matthew 3:16, 17; 4:1

This passage of Scripture has always been slightly confusing to for me. Jesus has just been baptized. A holy dove has descended from heaven to endorse Him as the Son of God. The heavens have opened. The place is in awe. Folks are stunned. Excited. Expectant. The Messiah they've been awaiting for centuries has just been announced. Jesus is ready to begin His public ministry. What will God do next?

What God did next is unexpected, to say the least. He said, "This is my beloved Son in whom I'm well pleased." And then He immediately sent Him into the wilderness to undergo loneliness, hunger, hardship, and temptation.

Isn't it interesting that the way the Father showed His love for Jesus, His only Son, was to put Him in the desert, so that at the critical beginning of His Ministry He would learn to depend on the Father...alone?

Perhaps one of the reasons God nudges each of us into a desert of some kind is so that we will learn to depend on Him in new ways.

C.S. Lewis said that God whispers to us in our joys, speaks to us in our conscience, and shouts to us in our pain. In our joys, it is as though He is whispering in a crowded auditorium of His immense, outrageous love for us--but we can't hear. We're too busy.

He tries again to speak to us through our conscience, but we don't slow down enough to listen. Our hearing aid is on low, because we're engaged with so many things. Without purposeful listening, the communication process is not complete.

But God is persistent in His love and concern, so He shouts...through our pain. He finally has our attention.

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