9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
12 At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, 13 and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted[g] by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.
This is exactly how the spiritual life works, and knowing it can help us be on guard.
There are moments of high exaltation when God seems close enough to touch. With the eyes of faith, we see him. Heaven seems opened above our heads, the Spirit descends on us, and God demonstrates to us, and to the world, that he is blessing us. We hear a voice from heaven say, “You are my daughter, whom I love, with you I am well-pleased.”
Why the affirmation? Because he loves us.
Because he know we are going to need it. For after the moments of affirmation comes the days of testing.
The affirmation, the experience of God’s love and the open heaven is to strengthen us for our season in the desert.
The season of loneliness, hunger, thirst, cold, self-doubt, solitude, silence. Of temptation of every kind from Satan.
Inevitably, the season of hardship and temptation follows close on the heels of the season of blessing and affirmation.
But we are never completely abandoned by Christ. Even in the desert, we have the companionship of animals, and are attended by angels.