Right after Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, he turned left and walked into the desert. Forty days and forty nights, he pressed in deep and connected with the heart of his Father. He was going to need this connection to move through all that was coming. Before exiting the desert, Jesus was tempted by the devil. Three different times Satan tried to convince Jesus to choose the easy way, the path to quick power and massive popularity. Jesus withstood his temptations, by digging deep and trusting in the promises of his Father.
God would make a way. God was the way. He was only going to turn when the Father said turn.
Jesus left the desert the same way he entered, fully confident and secure in his identity. He was the Son of God, and from that place, he would move forward. It’s the invitation you might be looking for, but you won’t find it on the highway. The formation of friendship and identity happens off the beaten path—in the back alleys and on the side streets where you encounter his goodness in ways you haven’t earned and in places you could never deserve.
Jesus’s life with the disciples proved to be unexpected twists and turns all the way to the very end. Had they only gone where they were comfortable they would have missed the best of what he had to offer. Instead, they mustered up the courage to turn left, to step away from life as they knew it and embrace the unknown of Jesus.
Sometimes, God pulls you away from the world so he has space to pull you into him. I believe we were created to turn left effortlessly, that our level of trust and connection leads us to freely follow. Your spiritual maturity can be measured by the amount of time it takes you to turn and follow Jesus in a new direction.
My prayer is for your participation—that you realize you’ve been promised goodness and that he who promised is faithful. The story of the Hebrew people is simply a sad story of a group who never really believed what they had been promised. Relationship is your invitation. The side streets and back alleys are his direction. Will you slow down and make the turn?