A few things struck me as interesting during my quite time today…
I am reading through Luke trying my best to see Jesus. Today as I read in Luke three and four, it occurred to me that even Jesus faced mountain tops and valleys during his ministry.
Ok, yes the cross that was the ultimate valley, but never before did I realize that Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness followed immediately after his baptism and praise by God himself. Receiving confirmation from God as a voice from heaven! Now that would be the ultimate confidence builder. But right after that Jesus comes face to face with Satan himself, for forty days!
The Bible says after he was baptized, “…Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil.” (Lk. 4:1-2a)
His encounter with Satan wasn’t an accident, the Spirit led him there. The temptations he faced weren’t small matters. We only have three written down and they were nothing to scoff at:
1.) Trust God to fill you and give you what you need or trust in your own power
2.) Trust God’s plan for your life (the cross) or take the easy road, the way you think you can see clearly (bowing to Satan now and gaining the kingdoms of the earth, now)
3.) Testing God in his care for you or waiting for his timing
But Jesus resists and God glorifies him: “And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.” (Lk. 4:14-15)
From this I learn (hopefully I’ll remember) that I need to use the strength, confirmation, and confidence I receive on the mountain to get me through the valley. I need to not trust in my power or my perceived ability to fix the problem myself but to wait on God’s timing. And, when I have trusted him and come out the other side, he will again lead me to a mountain top and use what I learned in the valley to help others. Those thoughts give me hope. Hope in the fact that my trials are no accident and that God will use what I learn during them to bless others.