God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. Genesis 1:5 ESV
It was about 3:30 in the afternoon when we pulled up to our last lawn to mow for the week. “We’re here to cut the grass, Mrs. Schwartz*!” I called out as we hurried to get the mowers of the truck. But she quickly stopped us in our tracks, as she replied “Oh no, not now! It is too close to Sabbath.” You see, I was learning that when we Gentiles see a sunset and think, “Another day is done.” But, to the Jewish mind, just as in the book of Genesis, sunset is the beginning of a new one. Today’s verse makes it clear that darkness always comes first, and then light. “And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.”
The same is true of God’s schedule for every one of us. When the darkness of illness, trouble of death falls in our lives, we think, “This is the end of my day!” But God replies, “Oh no; not at all! This night season you are about to pass through is a new beginning. It is almost Sabbath, and on the other side of this darkness is the second half of the day. There you will be sure to find both sunrise and true rest! “
And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. Luke 4:1-2 KJV
We missed our connecting flight in Chicago once and spent five hours till the next one was available. While my wife was happy to walk around, shop a bit and spend the day content until our flight, I shamefully stomped back and forth around the terminal repeating more times than I would like to recall, “This is stupid! I can’t believe we missed our flight!” Dealing with down time has never been my strong suit though, because God has orchestrated multiple occasions like this in my life I have learned to go with the flow far better than that day in Chicago. Did you ever wonder what Jesus did with all His “down time” during that 6 1/2 weeks in the wilderness? It is easy to fast forward through these verses to get to the action scenes with Jesus crushing Satan by the word of God and heading out of the wilderness to His ministry. But forty days and forty nights is a long time. Of course we can be pretty confident that Jesus spent many hours in prayer, but what else could he have been doing from sunup to sundown?
But maybe Jesus could leave that wilderness in power, not simply because He defeated Satan, but also because He had learned the secret of rest. He had not worried what people thought about Him back in Nazareth, He rested in God’s plan. He didn’t try to start planning the ministry that lay before Him He simply enjoyed the peace and quiet. Maybe Jesus passed time watching birds and heard His Father explain how He cared for them. Maybe He watched seeds sprouting up by a stream in that desert place and saw how tiny beginnings could grow into trees able to bear fruit for hungry travelers. When it was time for breakfast and His stomach growled like every other man’s, maybe He just quietly thanked His Father for the living bread of His word to give Him strength. We will never know till heaven the answer to all these questions but it might be instructive during our next down time, to pause and ask Jesus what He did and then ask Him how to be more like Him during our own time of waiting in the wilderness.