This morning I’m meditating on Matthew 4, the account of Jesus’ preparation for His ministry that occurred in the wilderness. This story is profoundly important for us, as we are given insight into the ways of God as He prepares His Servant-Son for the assignment laid out before Him. This impacts you and me because in the same way that the Father prepared Jesus to receive ultimate authority over all creation, so He prepares you and me to realize the destiny promised to us as the Bride of Christ.

The first thing to notice in this story is that it is the Holy Spirit who DRIVES Jesus into the wilderness experience! Our Father God specifically designs seasons in the wilderness for our preparation, times where His presence seems to be withdrawn, so that we might make the choices for trust and faithfulness that Jesus Himself needed to make. If the tangible presence of the Lord has been withdrawn from you, it is because He has a purpose in it, and your response in this season is critically important for your destiny to be realized.

The second thing to remember here is that this withdrawal was not related to Jesus’ disobedience in any way. The Father had just declared His pleasure upon Jesus, and now it was time to demonstrate Jesus’ qualification to receive the authority for which He was destined. In that deprived state – fasting from food and water with no sense of the Father’s presence – Jesus was faced with options: “If You are the Son of God, turn these stones into bread.” 

The question before Jesus was this: would He use His power to comfort Himself, or would He wait for God, trusting Him even when His presence was withdrawn for a season? 

The same question comes to us in our “wilderness seasons.” Will we generate something on our own in order to comfort ourselves, or will we wait for God to release His Word and His provision in His own way and His own timing?

Jesus responded perfectly to the tempting situations. He relied on the written Word of God, and chose to wait for His Father to release Him. At the end of His wilderness exam, Jesus was found worthy, and angels came and ministered to Him! I imagine the meal He ate and drank at that moment was worth the wait!

If you are in a wilderness season, take heart from the example of Jesus. Rest in the Father’s pleasure that is over you, rely on the promises in His written Word, and simply wait for God to release you. He wants to entrust you with the destiny He has planned, and your choices in this season will ensure the proper reward. 

Who knows – maybe there is an encounter with angels at the end of the story!

Gary Wiens

Gary Wiens, 4/30/2017