Have you ever experienced a difficult time in your life when you thought to yourself, "I'm not sure I can move on." Possibly a circumstance arose where you were offended or hurt and it caused a hurdle that was difficult to overcome. Or maybe it's a memory in your past that hinders you from going forward. In today's devotional, I want to share a small truth that has helped me move beyond hardship toward victory. Our thought takes us to the first two chapters of the Gospel of Mark.

The first passage is in Mark 1:12-13: "And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness. And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him."

Obviously I do not know what Jesus faced physically in the wilderness, but I believe it must have been an extremely difficult time. We only have a small glimpse of what happened, but I can imagine that everything was thrown at Him during His forty days in the wilderness. There is so much you and I could learn from the truths themselves in this event. However, our focus today will be the three words recorded after this event. In verse 14, we find this phrase, "Now after that ..." At the exiting of this bitter trial and bombardment of Satan's attack, the Holy Spirit sums it up, not by long explanation or an attitude filled with hurt, but with a quiet closing of the wilderness door marked by these words, "Now after that ..." These words indicate a moving forward to a new event, the hope of a future. It is the promise of another chapter, a victory after the wilderness experience.

In my few years of ministry, I have met so many people who entered one of life's storms and never recovered. Could it be because they have never had a "Now after that ..." in their lives? It's as though the trial was over ten years prior, but behind them was a fresh trail of wilderness sand. They continued to carry the weight of their past trials. I'm not suggesting that the painful memories magically flee away or the emptiness of loss is easily dismissed, but if we are going to have victory before, during, and after our trials, by the grace of God, we must learn to leave the wilderness in the wilderness.

The second half of the truth is found in Mark 2:1 when we read these words: "And again ..." These definitive words tell me that Jesus was able to do something again or another time. His ministry was to continue; the journey was not complete. My question is: "How was Jesus able to have an "And again ..."? I simply put the two together. Jesus was able to have an "And again ..." because He had an "Now after that ..." These hopeful words are the culmination of the wilderness victory. So when bad days are remembered and failures of the past are difficult to shake, I always remind myself of this truth: "I will never have an "And again ..." until I have had an "Now after that ..."

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Written by Dale Money
Director - BPS/firstBible
July 29, 2020