"Jesus returned from the Jordan full of the Holy Spirit and was led by the Spirit into the desert, where he was tempted by the Devil for forty days. In all that time he ate nothing, so that he was hungry when it was over."
If you got a chance to read yesterday's thoughts on the Gospel from the 1st Sunday of Lent, you'll recognize most of this verse. Today's thoughts focus on the last sentence, verse 2b, the selection in bold. Because Jesus was human and He was fasting, He was hungry.
If you've ever had a busy day and had to skip lunch or ever put yourself on any kind of restrictive diet, you're probably thinking you know a little bit about hunger. The truth is, you probably don't know hunger, not like a starving infant living in a drug-dealer's house in the projects of New York. Or a pregnant mother in the drought season of an impoverished community in Malawi. We are blessed beyond measure to have never experienced that kind of hunger. Jesus fasted for 40 days in the desert so He would know something about their pain.
But Jesus' forty days in the desert were about more than His human hunger for sustenance. When the Spirit led Him into the desert, He was hungry to begin His ministry and He was hungry to know His Father. But God wanted for Him to be tempted before becoming our Savior. So He willing walked into the desert, into temptation, straight to the Devil.
Now depending on what you gave up for Lent, there will be very, very difficult times. Times when the smell of cookies is just too alluring. Times when your friend starts telling you about this hilarious meme on Facebook. Times when one word is ringing through your brain, but you promised you wouldn't let it out this time. We've all faced those times. Jesus faced them too, but He knew that His hunger for the Father and the Father's will were so much more important than His hunger to be satisfied.
This Lent we get to have the same choice. We've given something up or decided to do something extra and sometimes that seems too difficult to keep up. Sometimes our relationship with God isn't strong enough to inspire us to hold on. Sometimes our prayer life is the desert and the Devil's temptations seem like a good idea. But we face the same choice that Jesus faced in the desert with the Devil. We face the same choice during Lent and during Advent and any day of the week or hour of the day: My will? Or God's?
Have a hungry day