During this season of Lent, we are all waiting…and we know God IS working in the waiting.
Our Lenten journey begins…we are all just walking each other home.
But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you. Psalm 39:7
At the start of the year, I chose the word “hope” as my word for the year. It’s a simple word that holds a lot of promise.
Interestingly, I have to remind myself of my word EVERY day. I seem to loose hope at the slightest disappointment and forget who holds the world in the palm of His hand. I forget to hope.
Finances, deaths, disease, job loss, family struggles, and so much more can pile onto a person’s soul and suck the hope right out of their life. Don’t do it. Don’t lose your hope.
How any times has the Lord given me hope? How many times has He picked me up from the gutter? How many times must He prove His love for me?
This is Lent…a season of preparation for Jesus’s death on the cross and ultimate resurrection. I imagine there wasn’t a lot of hope on that dark and sad day. But hope was renewed three days later as Jesus rose from the grave.
Nothing is beyond the reach of God. Nothing is impossible. Nothing is without hope. I am glad I chose that word for this year and I intend to remind myself each and every day to never, never, give up hope.
I am standing on the promises of God, my savior.
Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success!
Lent is a traditional time of self reflection and soul-searching.
In reality… I should do this daily. My soul needs to be renewed, refreshed, searched, and recharged. My soul gets weary.
I cry out to God… Lord, save us! Save this land, save my loved ones, and save us from a bountiful harvest of sins.
I know He hears us. I know He hears me. I pray He grants success to all who call upon His name.
Amen and amen.
Every Sunday, I sit and worship and wait patiently to hear these words “May the peace of the Lord be always with you!”
I know these words by heart and I can say them to myself at any time. But, I like hearing them repeated in the glorious and peaceful Cathedral sanctuary. I am focused, obsessed and desiring to obtain that peace from God.
This is my favorite season of worship as I relive the long, torturous, and dusty road to Calvary. A horrific journey for Jesus who wishes to grant us grace and peace. A journey that is both tragic and triumphant.
This Lenten season I am writing for myself. I am writing for anyone who cares to read. I am writing for God. I am writing.
My Dad was a Prisoner of War in Nazi Germany. It was an important part of his legacy.
As the pilot of a B-17, he was shot down over Stuttgart and parachuted into a lake where he treaded water until the German military arrived. Any soldier who swam to shore would be beaten or killed by waiting citizens. This was the reality of war.
My Dad did not start talking about his war experience until late in life. I think his sons, grandsons (one of whom is a Naval Commander) and friends wanted to know his story. It was dramatic and cringe-worthy and was difficult for me to comprehend. War is just so horrible.
This was a big part of my Dad’s life; a life lived well with significant highs and lows. The war was a low point for a man who was never defeated in spirit.
However, I really didn’t want to hear about it. I didn’t like to hear about my Father in danger.
I am proud of my Father’s heroism and his military skills of survival. But, I liked the Dad that I knew personally. You see, my Father was one of the most fun-loving and joy-filled people that I ever knew. He had a wicked grin and a lovely sense of humor. He delighted in pranking his children and pulled some funny, funny tricks over his 91 years on this earth. There are so many stories that I can’t begin to share them all. Suffice it to say, there was rarely a dull moment around my home. He was the life of the party and the person we all wanted to be around. He was a magnet for people and they clung to him in love and laughter.
Dad had seen the worst in people including some horrid atrocities that come with being a soldier in combat. He had seen death in so many ways and did not relive those moments often.
Lent is like that for me. I have to force myself to walk through the awful process to get to the resurrection on Easter Sunday. I don’t want to consider the beaten, spit upon, abused, and mocked Jesus. That’s too hard. I don’t want to think of the blood, sweat and tears of Jesus. It is simply too painful to ponder. But sometimes, we have to remember in order to understand and appreciate the never-ending gift given to us through the shed blood of Christ. Sometimes we have to go through the worst to get to the best.
My Dad’s laugh resonates in my heart. My Lord’s sacrifice blesses my soul. The grace of Jesus Christ keeps me safe.
I am grateful. Eternally so…
“A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:32-33
I am very competitive. I just can’t help myself.
Recently, my husband purchased a FitBit for me which is an instrument worn on the wrist, like a bracelet, that tracks your steps per day. It did not take me long to get hooked on this nifty device.
Even more rewarding was learning that many of my friends regularly compete in daily, weekly and monthly contests to see who walks the most and is therefore celebrated as a winner. This new “toy” was tailor-made for me
What is it about us that we need to compete? It’s not all bad, but it can be. When the mother of the sons of Zebedee approaches Jesus, she makes a ridiculous request. She asks that her sons be given the right to sit at the left and right sides of Jesus in glory, It doesn’t take long for Jesus to rebuke her. “…whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave” (Matt. 20:27). I don’t think Jesus can be more clear on this point.
Today I watched a young father comfort his son who had just participated in a losing softball game. It’s a hard lesson in life that we can’t always be winners and in fact, we are more often losers given the standards of this world. But for me, that young father got it right when he taught his young boy that there is simply glory in living to fight another day while giving your best effort for what is right.
During this season of Lent, it’s good to remember that competition is not what matters. What matters is remembering the ultimate prize and that is a lifetime spent in the presence of the Lord. It doesn’t get better than that.
Yesterday was not one of my better days.
It is so easy for me to allow myself to get bogged down in the mundane daily trials of life. One word of discouragement can lead to a day filled with anxiety and disappointment.
What a waste of a perfectly good day.
By day’s end, I had started my Lenten walk by attending Ash Wednesday services. During the service, we recited the 51st Psalm. What struck me was Verse 11: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me”.
I’m worried about the trivial but God is worried about my heart. I’ll stick with God and worry less about myself. He knows what is important and uses a solemn service to remind me…
…and I’m glad.
“Peace I leave with you.” John 14:27
I am the kind of person that once immersed in a great book will often flip to the last few pages so I know the ending. Some may think this is cheating and not very considerate of the author’s buildup to the conclusion of the story. Others are probably just like me. We like to know the end at the beginning.
And so it goes with the season of Lent. I love this time of the year in the church calendar and I look forward to spending time in thought, word and deed as we recall the ultimate sacrifice and triumphant resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is a hard journey for those who take it seriously.
However, I love Lent because I know the end at the beginning.
In John 14 we hear Jesus telling the disciples that soon He won’t be with them in this world. Jesus knows that He must leave His followers in order to fulfill prophecy and return to the Father. I’m certain this was a cause of great concern for the disciples. But Jesus constantly reassures them that He will send a helper, a comforter, and a counselor to them.
This remains an important part of the the lenten journey. We need to remember that God chooses us and we are not alone. We are adopted by Him and deeply loved.
Together, we are going to take the next few weeks to walk the weary path to Calvary. It is a tough reminder of a sacrificial life given for our sins. Jesus was blameless, we are not.
I’m ready to remember but I’m also ever confident in a God that constantly comforts us. Won’t you join me?