This excerpt is taken from the January–March 2021 edition of Today’s Light.
You may ask, what is the “wilderness”? A wilderness is usually an experience that follows a season of highs. When Jesus was baptized (which was more accurately a coronation), He took His rightful place as the final and greatest king of Israel.
But as soon as the event was over, He was immediately thrown into a wilderness experience where He fasted for forty days while being tempted by Satan. (See Mark 1:9–13.) Wilderness experiences usually happen when you are at the end of your spiritual rope. They are times of seeking God’s will and direction for your life.
There is a glossy sheet of paper adorned with the face of a young man, which I keep in my car at all times. I like to pull it out and look at it as I am driving home. It makes me feel at home. I have written a Bible verse in the bottom right corner that reads:
The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Matthew 7:25 (NIV)
Our hope is not in our circumstances.
It’s something I need to be reminded of regularly. Especially during times that are not routine or are unexpected, or when it becomes apparent that so little is in our control.
Special thanks to the ministries of St. Lucas Lutheran Early Childhood Center and Word of Life Lutheran School in St. Louis, Missouri, for taking the time to educate my children and many others on the promises of God.
In my household, I get the pleasure of dropping both of my children off at school each day. My wife is a full-time Lutheran school teacher, so she arrives at school quite early and is not able to drop the kids off on a consistent basis. As I load my two- and four-year-olds into our purple Ford Flex, they fill my car with songs from school—songs about Jesus. They kick their legs with excitement as they belt “Jesus Loves Me” with a remix of “Jesus, Remember Me” with a feature by the “ABC” song. I open our sunroof to get some fresh air and therapeutic sun into the car as the kids scarf down their breakfast, bellowing lyrics as we drive along.
Earlier this summer, I received a phone call that caused me to drop my glass cup on the floor right before heading into a Bible study. My doctor had called to tell me that the “routine” COVID-19 test I had taken was not so routine and that I had been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus disease. The next few seconds were a blur, and I quickly popped into the Zoom Bible study feeling as if I had been hit with a ton of bricks.
I had COVID-19. What was going to happen to me?
As I write this, I am listening to the decisions made by my home state of Minnesota about school this fall. After this spring and the experience of distance learning , my children and I are ready for school to be back in session.
Back-to-school season was much closer to “back-to-chaos” season for my family. Even as an only child, I was part of so many extracurriculars that my parents were constantly running me around, even on weekends. There was rarely time for family dinners, much less a moment to try and squeeze in family devotions. My family could have used a steady routine, especially when it came to planning family time.
I am far from an expert on prayer.
I’m not the person to go to for tips on how to be consistent in prayer.
I can remind you of the assurance we have in prayer because of Christ.
The prayer we now call the “Lord’s Prayer” did not originate from a monk or a mother. It was given to us by Jesus, our Lord. He tells us to pray to our Father with simple words. Jesus ensures us that the Father knows what we need before we ask (Matthew 6:5–8).
During hard times, it can be difficult to find the energy to rejoice. It feels easier to focus on how bad everything is and to dig in your feet and say, “Nope, nothing to be joyful about here.” I am frequently guilty of this. I often take a look at what is going on in the world and, instead of bringing my worries to God, I bury myself in how bad it is. In biblical times, there were many situations where believers could have lost all hope. But God’s promises break through and turn hard times into joy.