“Teach my song to rise to You when temptation comes my way. When I cannot stand I’ll fall on You, Jesus You’re my hope and stay.” – Matt Maher’s Lord, I Need You
It was a quiet Friday night as I made my way to my weekly date night with Jesus. As I entered the chapel, I found that I had Him all to myself. As is my custom in empty chapels, I began to sing. Matt Maher’s Lord, I Need You has become a staple in my life. Not only is it hugely comforting, I sing it nearly daily to my daughter during her naptime routine. Though I sing it frequently, something different struck me that night in the adoration chapel: temptation isn’t always what I think it is.
More often than not we tend to think of temptation as those obvious things that come at us: images that can lead to impure thoughts, the temptation to use foul language, cheat on a test, and the like. Sitting there in the chapel, I realized that temptation comes in other forms: the temptation to doubt God’s promises, the temptation to try and control things, do it my way, the temptation to not give everything to God. Even in those moments He asks us to trust Him. When temptation of any kind, the obvious or the obscure, comes we ought to fall on Jesus.
It seems so fitting as we enter into the Triduum – three of the holiest days in our liturgical year. We are tempted to doubt His promises and prophecies as He dies. This man of whom much has been said, this man who is supposed to save us from ourselves up and dies. On a cross. How humiliating. So we doubt His promise, we doubt that He really will do what He said he will since He is now in a tomb.
We try to control things, much like Peter. No, I don’t know that man. I do things my way and I’ll flee when the going gets tough. Or perhaps we find ourselves like Judas, trying to make a quick buck at the expense of another. Whether we are like Peter or Judas, we have a tendency to control things, failing to give God the reins.
Perhaps we are like the apostles after the crucifixion, hiding in the Upper Room for fear of the Jews. Rather than give everything we’ve got to God – even when it seems that hope is lost and our great leader has been killed – we hide. We hide for fear that He might be calling us to something greater than we imagined, something that will demand more of us than we’d like to give. We don’t give everything over to Him because we are afraid of being called out of the boat, afraid that, like Peter, we’ll sink. Rather than trust, we cling to the boat, too terrified to see that there might be something more majestic if we’d step out in faith.
As we remember all that Christ did for us in the Triduum, take a moment or two to reflect on the ways you feel tempted in your own life: whether it is the temptation to sin, the temptation to doubt God, or a different kind of temptation all together. Then take that temptation to God. Fall on Him. Look at Jesus, the Word Incarnate, who fell three times and yet rose again and again. The man who rose from the dead, giving us hope eternal. All is not lost when temptation comes, we need only to fall on Him, our hope and our stay.