March 30, 2017

If the goal of Lent is to open ourselves more fully to God, to turn and return to God’s ways, than its culmination in Easter’s resurrection becomes all the more powerful. When we pause to acknowledge our dependence on God, we learn new ways that God has been supporting us all along. When we turn ever so slightly closer into alignment with God’s ways, God meets us ever more fully with open arms. When we open ourselves even a bit more fully to God, we encounter healing, restoration, and new life.

The season of Lent isn’t always easy. Over the course of 40 days, the challenges of life threaten our focus and commitment. It’s easy to forget the path of God in the face of difficulty, or simply to give in or give up. It’s human to get it wrong – that’s where the gift of grace comes in – after all, none of Jesus’ disciples were able to fully stick with him to the end either. Yet at the end of Lent, after all our best efforts, failings, struggles and successes, Easter comes – resurrection power and the promise of new life – lessons learned, encounters that touch us, a taste of wholeness.

Even if you don’t observe Lent per se, I’m guessing you know what it is like to live through a season of struggle – times when turning to God seems like the only thing left to do. Whether surviving personal struggles, walking with a loved one through difficulty, or enduring injustice, there are times when we are left to wait on God, hoping, trusting – sometimes confidently, sometimes painstakingly – waiting on God to give us strength and lead us to a better place. The Lenten journey acknowledges the struggles of life and our ultimate dependence upon God.

The beauty of Lent, the hope and the promise, is that Lent always leads to Easter. Struggle is real, but so, too, is resurrection. After a time of fallowness, hard work gives way to results. Where there once was challenge and obstacle, endurance is produced. And when once all that could be seen was struggle, new options, new vision, and new life emerge. The promise of God is that our journey – no matter how arduous – will lead us to through the pain and struggle to resurrection – to celebration – to something new and filled with hope, to a time of redemption and restoration.

May we continue to walk together toward resurrection.