A Reflection for LENT (Dated: March 21st, 2020)
An invitation by God to the wilderness, to a desert place is one most of us feel reluctant to accept. But I am reminded that in the wilderness I am more able to hear the Father speaking core truths to me.
As a student, I grappled with what it meant to be a young woman. What was my role in God’s mission, in the church? I didn’t connect with typical notions of the good Christian woman and felt deeply angry and hurt by some Christians’ perceptions of womanhood. I wanted adventure, to be part of the battle. Part of me resented my femaleness; it seemed second best. It was in this wilderness time that God spoke to me very specifically one evening, affirming me as his daughter and stripping away the warped proclamations of identity I’d heard. I was being invited to throw off everything that hinders and “run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12).
Wilderness times and learning about identity seem to be frequent bedfellows.
The Israelites spent forty years in the wilderness and no doubt it was a time of laying themselves bare, raw emotions, despair, and resentfulness. However, there were also seemingly times of oasis, revelation, and a reawakening from the numbness their slavery in Egypt had brought. In the desert they discovered their identity as God’s chosen people, his “treasured possession” and their calling to be a blessing to all nations.
Conversely, before Jesus was led into the wilderness, God the Father affirmed his identity as God’s “beloved Son”. It’s hard to imagine Jesus withstanding the Devil’s temptations of power and authority without being absolutely sure of his identity and relationship with the Father.
This Lent, perhaps we are invited into a sort of wilderness, away from the distractions, incessant entertainment and our anesthetised existence so that we can discover afresh our true identity as sons and daughters of the King and be released to participate with God in His mission.