Weekly Devotional
by Kathy Beck

“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” 
[Matthew 4: 1, New English Translation]

My husband’ professional career was as a financial executive, properly clad in suit and tie, but his true place was and is in a bathing suit, building sandcastles. Whenever we are near a beach, he spends hours constructing elaborate palaces and seaside bastions, fending off the incoming tide, mischievous children and romping dogs. 
One day, as he was in the grip of inspiration, a woman stopped to admire his creation.
“Are you an architect?” she asked.
He looked up at her with a dazzling smile and replied, “No, I’m a lion tamer.”

This incident comes to mind whenever I consider the story of Jesus’ experience in the wilderness. Matthew’s eloquent account is the text with which we begin Lent this year. But I have always been drawn to Mark’s laconic, straightforward description:  “And [Jesus] was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.” [Mark 1:13, King James Version]. 
An interesting troika: Jesus, the wild beasts, and the angels.
I too have been with those wild beasts. They prowl around me, growling and showing their teeth. But I am married to a lion tamer and surrounded by angels. The angels take unlikely forms: friends, strangers, a voice in the crowd. Sometimes, I later realize, the angels are the wild beasts.  
Perhaps you have felt the angels’ presence. Perhaps when the wild beasts threaten, you can be an angel to someone else.
Loving and challenging God,
when the wild beasts come, thank you for surrounding us with your care and protection. Thank you for those beasts, our fierce teachers,
and for the angels who stand with us.