Instagram Jesus Week 4: Devotional Day 5
DAY 5 – Friday
Mark 1:12; 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
The Spirit drives Jesus into the wilderness where he is tempted, and during that difficult time the angels minister to him. How does the presence of God in the midst of suffering help us wrestle with the difficult question of suffering and God’s sovereignty?
I had a really great high school graduation. In contrast to a typical high school graduation ceremony, where hundreds of students parade past a podium to get their diploma, I graduated from a small Baptist private school with a class of only six other students. Part of the graduation ceremony included having me perform a recital of a Mozart piece I had been practicing throughout the year, and in addition I received an award I had not been expecting. It was quite a rush for 18-year-old me. After the evening was done, I got in a car with my Stepdad and my Mom, and my Stepdad (who was not a pleasant man, unfortunately) said, “Well, now that’s over you’ll have more time to help me around the house.” Not, “Congratulations.” Not anything else. Just… that. It was deflating, to say the least.
That’s not an unusual scenario for many of us. Oftentimes, it seems like our mountain top experiences are closely followed by a journey through the wilderness. That seems to be the case for Jesus too. It makes it all the more interesting that it’s the Spirit who drives him into that wilderness experience.
What we learn from Jesus’ time in the wilderness is twofold. First, that he doesn’t go alone; the Spirit is present with him. Second, that his experience is not without purpose because it was prompted by the Spirit. We may never fully understand why suffering happens this side of heaven, but we can at least translate from Jesus’ experience that the same two things are true for us in our suffering.
Paul, in 2 Corinthians 1:3-7, reminds us that one way that God gives purpose to our suffering is allowing us to comfort others who are suffering through the experiences we have had. As you read this passage today, take some time to think and pray on how your afflictions may be used to provide comfort for others.