There’s a party goin’ on right here
A celebration to last throughout the years
So bring your good times, and your laughter too
We gonna celebrate your party with you
I love that old song. Don’t you? Everyone loves a party… right? So what are we celebrating? Well…today I hit the number forty. Happy day, there’s a party going on!
Of course, for those of you who know me personally, you know it’s not my birthday… I passed that age many years ago… No, today is day number 40 without the use of my (previously strongest) leg. (You knew I was going to go back to the broken leg topic… I know you are probably sick of it, but please, please indulge me for just one more post… Who knows, you may know someone who also breaks their leg and you could advise them of the struggle or something…)
Honestly, these 40 days without a leg to use have been like living in my own little wilderness, which of course, reminds me of the story of Christ in the wilderness.
In Luke 4, we are told that Jesus after His baptism, was thrust–catapulted by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted. While He was there, He fasted and prayed for 40 days while being tempted by the devil. We can be confident that the devil used his full arsenal of evil to lob at Christ during this vulnerable time and in the end, even questioned Jesus’ identity as God, by saying over and over, “If you are God…. This is such a false question… of course, the evil one knew Jesus, was God in flesh come down to earth, he saw it all. He and his evil minions watched it all take place, with front row seats….
In a very small way, this is exactly what happened to me. 40 days ago as I was going to work, doing my job, arms laden with many bags, a cake and a head full of plans, I fell down the marble stairs outside of the apartment. As I felt my body catapulting into the unknown—my life literally was thrust into a desert wilderness. So what is the wilderness like?
The bible doesn’t really tell us about Jesus’ wilderness experience, but if He were to talk about it, I believe it would be hard to describe without tears… Many of you who have been in the wilderness can agree with me that in the wilderness much of the experience involves feelings of great desolation, which if given into can cause much despair. The bible, in Exodus does tell about a time when Gods people where stuck in the wilderness and they grumbled. They got so good at grumbling and mumbling that they did not finish well. I suppose in the end, they gave into despair.
In the wilderness there are also times when the tempter comes with either physical or spiritual danger and much can be lost. Wild and beastly fears can creep in or attack suddenly with such fierce and ferocious force, but we cannot give in. We must fight.
But mostly, the wilderness is a time of dependence. In the wilderness, we must press in and totally depend on the Lord. Philippians 3 has a great word for us wilderness dwellers. It says:
“ I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in His death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus”. Philippians 3:10
God calls us to press onward. We must. We must follow hard after the author and finisher of our faith. Christ will hold us up; seizing us at times lest we fall and all the while strengthening weak and feeble legs, so that as we begin to run, our stride will lengthen and push straight away to the finish line. We do want to finish well. We can finish well. Jesus did and He will help us. Listen-listen very carefully, we can almost hear heaven calling—Yes, yes, you can…Just do it