That’s how long our season of Lent is.
These 40 days are designed to help us look inward and identify with Christ’s sacrifice for us. We look to sacrifice something in our own lives that pulls us away from God, or we add something to our lives that will intentionally bring us closer. Or both. These 40 days, reminiscent of Jesus’ 40 days of fasting and temptation in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11), are meant to pull us out of the comfort zones of our daily lives.
Then, in strolls COVID-19…
COVID-19 shakes us to our core! We have no idea where it comes from, how it spreads, or how to help it go away. The annual and sacrificial disruption of our routine has been disrupted. But how can we use this time to our spiritual advantage? How can we still connect this time back to Jesus, Satan, and the desert?
COVID-19 has robbed most of us of our daily routines. For most of us, we are adjusting to working remotely from our homes, making changes to the way we get supplies, and reminding us of hygiene practices we should have learned and mastered at age 5. Jesus’ first temptation was about food. He had gone 40 days without eating when Satan told him to make bread from stone. Jesus’ response was that “It takes more than bread to keep man alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth” (Matthew 4:4, The Message). In this uncertain time, we are learning to lean more on God’s promises and words as supplies become limited. We must choose to trust God above all else, and that choice is made with every breath we take.
COVID-19 has also brought about a set of recommendations and regulations that we’ve never seen before. We’re being told to stay inside, wash our hands and stay 6 feet from other people. While this parallel may seem simple to connect to Jesus’ time alone in the desert, I want to take a different approach to this one. The next temptation that Satan gave to Jesus was to jump from a mountain, expecting the Angels to catch him. Jesus responded, “Don’t you dare test the Lord your God” (Matt 4:7, The Message). While we may hate the fact that we are socially distant from one another, God is working through our government officials to keep us safe. As much as we may want to jump off the social distancing mountain, God should not be tested through this. Keep your faith intact. Listen to what God is saying. Take this time of distance from others to dive deeper with God.
Lastly, Satan tempted Jesus in the desert by attempting to give Jesus all the kingdoms of the earth. The price was simple: all Jesus had to do was bow and worship Satan. Jesus immediately rebuked Satan and stated “For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only” (Matt 4:10, NIV). Satan fled, and angels surrounded Jesus to tend to his needs. What can we learn from that? COVID-19 has spread a lot of fear. There is information out there, but there is also misinformation. We feel filled with fear as this goes on, and if we give into that fear, we give Satan more power. Continue to trust in God. Continue to worship, study, and pray.
COVID-19 has given us new insight into Jesus’ 40 days in the desert, but it hasn’t taken meaning away from this time. If anything, it has given us a new way to identify with Christ’s sacrifice for us. Stay healthy, stay in prayer, and stay inside.
Love and Peace.
En Vivo Church