“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness… After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.” ~ Matthew 4:1-2
The season of Lent is historically based on the 40 days and nights that Jesus spent in the desert. We focus a lot on the fact that he prayed and fasted alone, in this place devoid of people and distractions, but we don’t often reflect on why Jesus went there in the first place. Jesus didn’t enter the desert as a punishment. He was not fasting prayer to “make up” for some sin that he had committed. Jesus went to the desert to spend time in prayer to recharge, refuel, and renew his own faith. I will say it again for the people in the back- Jesus’s time in the desert was not a punishment. So, perhaps we need to adjust our understanding of the Lenten season.
Lent is not meant to be this season of colorlessness, drudgery, and punishment. Lent is supposed to be the time when we retreat to our own “deserts”- places of quiet and reflection, to renew and recharge our own faith. Perhaps solitude doesn’t renew your prayer life- so go out and join or lead a bible study with your friends. If fasting doesn’t help you to feel connected with God- go out and serve at a local soup kitchen. Lent is all about YOU renewing your own relationship Jesus.
So, what is your desert?