Open Your Bible
Mark 2:13-17, Matthew 4:1-11
BY Debbie Eaton
Text: Mark 2:13-17, Matthew 4:1-11
Recently, I was on my way to Palm Desert to speak. I struggle with anxiety when driving alone, and I was not looking forward to the drive. The abyss of grey asphalt, cement walls, and red taillights of stop-and-go traffic unsettle me, and I knew once I made it through that traffic the desolate, dry, and brown desert would surround me for miles.
I get nervous to be alone. The stillness tempts me with voices that say I am not a good enough wife, mother, friend, leader. I am haunted by the “what ifs” and “should haves” and silence.
I was driving through that desert, sensing the welling of anxious thoughts, when God came close and met me. As He gently shifted my focus off my self-imposed discouragement and onto His promises of acceptance, forgiveness, and love, the desert transformed before my eyes. The brown became a brilliant bronze, the blue sky glistening against the horizon. The cactus and Joshua trees reminded me that life emerges out of barren land, and the wind whipping up dust prompted me to know the Holy Spirit comforts and transforms our thoughts. The desolate desert came alive when God came close.
The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
– Psalm 145:18
Levi’s anxious view of the world changed the day Jesus called him to follow. Sinner, come as you are—broken, weary, shamed, and rejected. I see you, accept you, and will call you my friend. Come dine with me. What a beautiful invitation. I wonder if Levi’s world went from black and white to vibrant color that day.
Jesus extends an invitation to come close at any time and to follow Him, no matter our condition. He calls us to come close minute by minute, every day. He heals, He redeems, He saves, He invites, He accepts – He changes us and our perspective, which draws us into greater understanding that He cares about every detail of our life.
There will be desert days. Even Jesus endured seasons in the wilderness. In those seasons, He fasted and drew close to His heavenly Father. His physical weakness did not succumb to the Tempter’s plan because His Father nourished Him. The enemy has nothing of worth to offer a soul filled with the truth of God’s Word. Amen!
Friend, the Word of God has the same power in your wilderness. Come close and fast with Jesus, cling to Him and His cross when the Tempter tries to steal your true identity. Like Levi who found his true identity in Christ, you are also invited, chosen, known, and loved—just as you are. As you come close to Jesus, the world around you will transform and become more beautiful and radiant because you are changed.