‘Lead us not into temptation.’ We are taught to pray this, aren’t we, when we say the Lord’s prayer? (Matthew 6:13)
Yet I recently heard a message concerning Jesus himself being led up of the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil.
I have reason to thank God for that message.
I’ll begin by explaining that I might well be called a technophobe.
At the age of fifty I married a man, even older than myself, who loved technology and wanted the latest of everything. How thankful I am now that he lovingly and patiently taught me to become friends with my computer.
I had just learned how to open emails, and also how to cope with debit cards when he was called home to heaven.
God, who has promised to be a husband to the widow, has always provided ‘very present help’ though I have had to learn the hard way that sometimes I must ask.
Recently I had a problem with my credit/debit cards. I thought it had been sorted, but when I took friends out for a meal I found my card was still rejected. What was happening? Was my mind going, that I could no longer remember my numbers?
I should have phoned a friend, even if all they could have done was to say a comforting ‘Aah,’ but a voice whispered, ‘Don’t disturb them now.’
I tossed and turned in bed, assailed by wrong and evil thoughts. I would go to the doctor and ask if I needed to be tested for Alzheimer's, imagining I would become an even heavier burden to my friends, but it was when I thought of jumping off a cliff that I realised from where these troubled thoughts were coming.
How grateful I am for the message I had heard concerning the temptations of Christ, how he was led of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil. In the light of day I realised that the Holy Spirit had allowed me too to be tempted. I realised too that even if I some form of dementia, that I need not fear, for I had seen my sister and also my dearest friend pass this way, and in it all Jesus had never left them.. As to jumping off a cliff – I used to have a persistent nightmare of falling over a cliff, but the Lord had wonderfully delivered me, enabling and preparing me to climb mountains when I went to New Guinea. I certainly would never consider jumping
So, the Devil, as with Jesus, has left me for a season. If or when he returns, I trust I will be ready to route him, as Jesus did, with the word of God. Even as now I am speaking out this verse,
‘God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.’ 2 Tim.2:7
And I pray God will help us not always to struggle to be independent, but to learn to ask for help when we need it, for he has set us in families who are more than willing to give of their time, skills or strength, or sometimes just sympathy. And maybe you too need to remember, as I do, that God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness.