Dear Cobham Park Church Family,
Life seems erased from the rocky landscape. There is no green–only shades of tan under a pale blue sky. Looking small against this arid backdrop, a lone figure is silhouetted by the merciless sun. His feet are blistered and dusty from the wandering miles. Three unseen companions go with him: ravenous hunger, the relentless Devil, and the silence of God.
I think of this man now–my Lord, Teacher, Savior, and Brother. Let’s learn from His temptation as we face our own wilderness of separation. It’s been forty days after all.
- God’s love for you is never in question. In Christ, God is pleased with you! After a lifetime of following Jesus, I still have trouble accepting that, but it’s true! This doesn’t mean that what we do always pleases God, but in Christ we live by grace instead of our own performance. My status as God’s child relies on who Jesus is–not me. In every pain we face (whether deserved or not) we can know that God’s love for us has not changed. “And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased (Mark 1:11*).’”
- Even in this, God is working for your good. While it’s difficult to understand, God works through everything He allows into a Christian’s life. This does not necessarily mean that He directly causes every circumstance, but He definitely uses it! Romans 8:28 clearly states this truth. Satan intended temptations for harm, but the Holy Spirit used them to strengthen Christ and reveal who He was. That is why, “The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness (Mark 1:12).” In a similar way, we may debate the origins of Covid-19, but we can be certain that God is able to work for our good even in this! Many distractions have been erased from our landscape, and God is clarifying important things we’d forgotten. He is strengthening us and revealing who we really are. Don’t fight that. Now that the initial shock of this trial is over, I’m beginning to recognize how God is blessing Cobham Park with a spiritual reset. He is giving revival we desperately need.
- The LORD prepares a table for you in the presence of your enemies. When things were going well, we liked to set our own spiritual table and provide for ourselves. We busily scheduled God and planned what He would do next. The Lord was sometimes treated as a silent partner in our religious business. In one fell swoop, all such misunderstanding has been clarified! It’s now easy to see the unreliability of our own strength and understanding. But God has provided manna in this desert. He’s given us endurance and constant help. He is our Leader and Protector! Unseen angels attend our prayers. “And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals. And the angels were ministering to him (Mark 1:13).”
- God is preparing you to share the gospel with new power. We are not here for ourselves, but to proclaim the good news of Christ in the world. The other day, I felt led by God to share groceries with a young unchurched couple in the community. As I introduced myself (from a safe social distance of course), I was told, “Oh yes–I know who you are. I’ve been watching y’all online; thank you!” In their need, these folks heard about Jesus through one of our Facebook Live videos. If one looks at the numbers–something that I’m not typically a fan of–we’ve shared the gospel with thousands of people online in the last month. We are reaching far more souls in this trial than we were in “normal” times. Count on this: God is already preparing us for new service in our great commission! “…Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God (Mark 1:14).”
In Christ’s Love,
*Bible quotes from the English Standard Version