Have any of you gotten frozen yogurt from Sweet Frog? I have not, but this isn’t a commercial for them. Do you know where the “Frog” part of their name comes from? What does a frog have to so with frozen yogurt? According to the company’s founder, “Frog” is an acronym for “Fully Rely On God” – F-R-O-G. It’s a Christian message of faithfulness and trust.
This is, in fact, the disposition of every Christian – or it should be – that we rely fully on God. This should be our attitude all the time, but this holy season of Lent serves to call us back to that radical dependence on the goodness, mercy, and support of our heavenly Father. It is why we begin every Lenten set of Sundays hearing about Jesus in the desert.
The desert is a place of scarcity – there is not much for anyone in the desert: no food, no water, and very little safety. Today, we encounter Jesus there, having fasted for forty days, wandering “among the wild beasts.” In this desert retreat, Jesus is fully relying on God, and He is being cared for by angels who minister to Him.
However, it is also in this place of total dependence on God that Jesus finds Himself tempted by Satan. Mark is, as usual, very curt about the event: Jesus is simply “tempted by Satan.” Matthew and Luke have the more dramatic telling of the temptation of Christ in the desert by the devil. All of them, however, have the same basic situation: Jesus is collecting Himself, fully relying of the grace and love of the Father, being grounded in that love, and in the midst of that stark reality, the devil comes and tries to draw Him away from His focus – away from the Source of His strength.
When I consider the temptations of Christ, I try to think how I would manage – my life is so full of “other things,” and I rarely find myself in such a solitary role as Jesus does today. However, the temptations that the devil will throw at us are very real – and they also threaten to pull us away from the Source of our strength and of our faith.
Consider yourself a faithful Christian – fully relying on God. Imagine that you have it together in your relationship with Jesus. This is when you will be tempted the strongest. The temptations are not to fly off the temple, or to worship Satan, or to turn rocks into bread. Rather, they are truly existential attacks on your faith, aren’t they?
This past week, we suffered one of these attacks, as 17 young people and teachers were murdered by a gunman in a Florida school. In the midst of this, the devil asks us how this can happen to people who rely on God? How can this be possible in a world that God supposedly loves? What are you going to do with your God now?
Personally, I have experienced this past week. I lost my dad on Thursday. And, yes: I heard those questions in my head as well. No one is exempt from those temptations.
When we watch the suffering of loved ones – when we lose those we care about to unexplained illness or tragedy – there is always the temptation to let go of God, or to believe that He has let go of us. This is the scary part of grief – it is where Satan takes his best shot. Because if he can get you to let go of that faith, then he wins.
But the good news, people of the Gospel, is this: he did the same thing to Jesus – who had only His relationship with the Father and a rumbly stomach in that desert. And Jesus won. It really wasn’t any contest, as far as Mark tells it! No, “Away with you, Satan!” or “Take a hike, pal!” Jesus just wins.
Keep this in mind as we journey with Him through this Lenten desert. We are His disciples; so we should take our cue from Him. Fully rely on God, because, in the end, He’s all we got.