By: Cody Smith
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1).
Discovering the Wilderness
The end of 2021 was the beginning of a wilderness-like experience for my wife, Hannah, and I. She was pregnant with twins, but on December 2nd we found out that we had lost one of the babies.
Enter the Wilderness
For our surviving baby, growth started to slow down. Two months later, we found ourselves sitting in a hospital room two hours from home. Hannah was being closely monitored to find just the right moment to give our surviving twin the best chance to make it through delivery. On March 2, my wife delivered Maple Joy at just 26 weeks. She measured just 13.5 ounces, the smallest human we have ever seen.
This experience forced us out of our community, both in terms of location and relationships. We found ourselves in a place we did not know, surrounded by people we did not know. Despite the caring and consistent efforts from friends from our local church back home to reach out and visit, we were prone to feel isolated and alone. We felt alone in the wilderness.
In the Thick of the Wilderness
We found ourselves in the thick of the wilderness and realized that the Lord was with us. By no means am I comparing our circumstance to that of Jesus by connecting to Mattew 4:1; however, we often relate to this story. We think of Jesus going out into the wilderness alone, but we know that is not the case. The Lord was with him. In fact, Matthew writes that the Spirit led him.
Not Alone In the Wilderness
In a similar fashion, the Lord was with the Israelites as they left Egypt for the wilderness. As Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, God was with them. He opened the way by parting the Red Sea. He provided for them by sending manna from the sky and water from rocks. He led them by a pillar of smoke by day and a pillar of fire by night. He was with them and they were not alone in the wilderness.
So for now, Hannah and I are in our own wilderness filled with beeps and boops, hand sanitizer and gloves, and a baby that breathes like Darth Vader. Although we are in the wilderness, we are not in this wilderness alone. The LORD is with us.
Cody is an educator from central Iowa. He and his wife, Hannah, have four kids, one of whom is with the Lord.