Posted by: mikenicholsblog | June 12, 2011

alligator alleys

Three times recently I have crossed Alligator Alley in Florida. It is a long lonely stretch of road, and anything but picturesque. Our lives sometimes parallel long lonely roads. Can you remember a time when it seemed nothing would go right, the heavens seemed closed to your prayers (surely God still knew your name), and the road of difficultly appeared to be endless?  We can all relate to backside of the desert, and wilderness experiences.  In those times, one question of primary importance is, how do we deal with long stretches of road that seem endless?

Even the casual reader of Scripture knows about Jesus being tempted in the desert.  Think about how this long stretch of life transpired for Him.  First, it is an undeniable truth that the Spirit led Him into the desert to be tempted.  None of us can truly understand the depth of the Father’s desire to let His Son go through such a lonely period of difficultly.  During the forty days of fasting, Mark and Luke tell us that He was tempted by the devil.  He was with the wild animals, and angels attended to Him (Mark 1:13).  We may struggle to understand why, but in the Father’s design it was needed.  We can only imagine what the days were like: fasting, temptation, wild animals, angels. And I would also assume some intense and powerful time of intercession with His Father.  Our lonely roads cannot compare, but they are still tough.  By way of contrast, it is very instructive to see the method of defense Christ used at the crescendo of the battle.

If you are anything like me, you have wasted some great roads of testing.  We tend to travel long lonely roads with too much emotion and too little biblical insight.  You and I do know the Word, but often in our journey we avoid using it to our advantage as the Father desires.  The pattern for Christ at the moment of truth was to use the Word, and it wasn’t by coincidence.  And through it, He has given us a pattern that works. Satan tempted, and Jesus defended with Scripture (read Matthew 4:1-11).  I don’t see Him debating or avoiding the issue, just using the Word of God.  You have undoubtedly heard sermons on the pattern Christ used.  Too often, however, their application is left somewhere short of the exit door at church. On your next lonely road, or the one you are currently traveling, are you willing to use Scripture as a defense against the assault of Satan?  Christ has given us the model for turning long lonely roads into meaningful milestones. Let’s take His help!

Hebrews 4:15-16 (MSG)
Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.

We all understand long lonely roads. Our Father has chosen for us to travel some. When the miles seem endless and hard, He provides all the grace and mercy we need. To navigate the long stretches when life is hard, clutch the Word and watch Him direct you. And you may just find that the alligator alleys you travel have beauty and purpose you never quite saw before!

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