The Wild Animals in the Wilderness of our Lives

“Jesus sits with wild beasts, and he is cared for by divine beings who presumably make his stay bearable.” —Sarah Parsons

Here’s the Lenten scripture to which Sarah is referring from Mark 1:

The Spirit immediately drove [Jesus]
out into the wilderness.
He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan;

and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
Mark 1: 12-13

During Lent, we too, can sit with our own “wild beasts” within ourselves (the wilderness part of ourselves) and trust that God’s care will be extended to us as we do so. Author Sarah Parsons goes on to say, “We discover that even against our better judgment, we must begin these forty days by going alone to a wild place—in ourselves or in our lives. If we are fiercely honest with ourselves as we begin a Lenten journey toward greater openness, we must start by seeing things we would rather not see.

This passage also teaches us what we will find in the wilderness. If our experience resembles that of Jesus, then the passage tells us that wilderness is an important and valuable place, not to be overlooked. We tend, especially in Western society, to separate ourselves from discomfort or chaos.

This passage counsels us to try a different approach. It encourages us to sit in the uncomfortable, chaotic place, possibly for a long time. Rather than running from the wilderness, Jesus stays there as long as necessary, long enough to experience it fully.”  

—from chapter one of A Clearing Season: Reflections for Lent

Prayer Practice: Sit for just 10 minutes a day, resting your mind in being held in the infinitely tender love of God for you. Visually picture yourself being held in God’s warm lap. Notice where your emotions take you without judging them. Just note them. Who or what does God look like to you?

God, open unto me light for my darkness.

Show me where I am wallowing in some past failure or misdeed.

Help me understand what is keeping me from walking into your warm grace. Amen.

Blessings of both discomfort and peace to you this first full week of Lent,

Chaplain LeAnn

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