Lent day 4: When Evening Falls


“God has to work in the soul in secret and in darkness because if we fully knew what was happening, and what Mystery, transformation, God and Grace will eventually ask of us, we would either try to take charge or stop the whole process.” St. John of the Cross

Of the forty days Jesus spent in the desert, I assume there were nights as well. (I don’t think Jesus checked into a Holiday Inn Express with free breakfast buffet at dusk) I have lived in the desert about 20+ years now and though I have always wanted to spend a night out under the stars, I never have. I imagine creeping things coming out that I can’t see. Sometimes I can hear the coyotes doing their nightly song and dance and though a part of me loves to hear it, it is a bit eerie as well. Usually it means something is being chased or is caught.

My mind wonders about those nights Jesus spend out there under the very stars He placed in the sky. Did He sleep on a flat rock watching the sky as He prayed, or did He seek shelter in a cave? I like to picture Him out there. I want to fill in those blanks. I can’t imagine that Satan left Him alone at night. He probably stepped up his game just like he does with us.

Everything is more uncertain in the dark of night. Worries and fears loom larger than life. We wrestle with real and imaginary beasts in our minds and hearts but the battlefield plays out in our soul. What did Satan whisper in the dark to Jesus? What kind of counterfeit offering did he bring to the table, because he always does. He always comes up with a second best plan which will always seem very attractive because it’s easier. And it’s not God’s.

I know one thing. Jesus chose God’s plan so that we could too. I believe that’s what He was thinking about each day in the desert as He walked along, kicking up plumes of dust and gravel; as thorns pricked his sandaled feet and tore at His garments. It’s what He was thinking about as He paused to rest, soaking His feet in a desert stream while seeking relief from the relentless sun. As He sweat and grew more hungry with each passing day.

As Satan kept coming back with better offers, one more attractive than the last.

And in the morning when the sun rose again as it always does, the shadows shrank back and He found the strength to press on. Because He saw your face and mine.

 For his anger is but for a moment; His favor is for a life-time: Weeping may tarry for the night, But joy cometh in the morning. Psalm 30:5

‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4

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