“Lead us not into temptation , but deliver us from evil”
I don’t know about you but temptation is a very real emotion in my life at the moment! And one that I’m not sure I’m withstanding very well truth be told although I guess it is all relative! My main temptation at the moment is food! Rich Tea biscuits to be precise! Every time I make a cup of tea I seem unable to resist the temptation to have a couple of biscuits to go with it! Not the most dreadful thing in the world but I’ve decided that I’m going to try and reduce my consumption by 50% and have just one biscuit!
For many of us at this time the real temptation is to break the lockdown. We are missing those we love, we are missing a way of life that it may feel we are never going to regain. The temptation to make an unnecessary journey to see some one we care about, to give them even just a brief hug can be overwhelming at times. The desire to travel just a little bit further so we can enjoy a different walk creeps into our minds. We may find ourselves rationalising our thoughts – just one hug can’t hurt surely?…..if I don’t get out of the car but just gaze at the scenery surely that wouldn’t matter?….But of course it does matter because if everyone indulges what may seem like small issues, the consequences will be significant.
Jesus understands how we feel. After all He experienced temptation in all its forms as we read in the Gospels of both Luke and Matthew. He spends forty days and nights undergoing the most intense times of trial and temptation that can be imagined yet He remains steadfast. – Jesus knows that He can get through this ordeal – and eventually the devil realises that he has more than met his match and departs defeated.
Well you might say – of course Jesus can withstand the temptations before Him. He is the Son of God – he can withstand anything. And that is indeed true – He is the Christ, the divine – but He is also human, He is as fully human as you and I and He understands what it feels like to be anxious, to be afraid, to be lonely. He knows what pain is – both emotional and physical.
In the same way that Jesus heard the voice of the devil trying to break him down we too can hear the whisperings of a voice that seeks to discourage, that seeks to subvert and perhaps we hear that voice more than ever at a time when our lives have been turned upside down.
We might feel that this pandemic is the work of the devil, that it is truly evil. There is no denying of the abject suffering that it is causing all over the world. But through our faith and through God’s strength, we can also ensure that this season is one of blessings. We can support each other, pray for each other, give thanks for those who are working so hard to care for the sick, to keep our world turning. I’m not going to pretend that it’s easy, that would be very naive of me but I do want to encourage you to fervently pray that we are indeed delivered from this evil, that we do our very best to resist temptation in all its forms and that we trust in our great and loving God to bring us through these challenging times with our faith intact and with our love for Him and for each other strengthened.