How Can I Say Thanks? Maybe by Showing it!
Yesterday was Ash Wednesday – the day that kick-starts the season of Lent and continues 40 days through to Holy Thursday just before Easter. Many of us who were hard hit by the ice and snowstorms over the last few days, look outward to our snow and ice-packed streets. Many are reeling from electric, water and heat loss and wonder about tomorrow. But I sense strongly that God is giving us all the opportunity to use this time of what feels like exile to look inward to what matters most in God’s grand scheme of things.
When we look outward, we fix ourselves on our local and national news carriers covering the anger many feel toward energy providers who are not providing adequate energy in this weather crisis. And then there’s the politicians, commentators AND even faith-filled believers who are still reeling from the outcome of the election and they are adamant about keeping their full attention there. My dear friends, I say with all humility and respect: It really is time to move on. I believe the enemy wants us to be distracted from what, rather WHO matters most and can do something about all of this.
Just maybe this is one of His all-sovereign and all know-it-all plans for us to think more about who we are and should be than all caught up in our comfort, ease, and playing the blame game. Maybe God is tapping us on the shoulder saying: “Remember Me?” This is the time when we begin preparing our hearts and minds for the single-most life-changing, eternal perspective and significant day of the year when Christ rose from the dead — Easter. It’s a time of intentional laser focus on HIM.
Joel 2:13 says: “Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “return to Me with ALL your heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning. So rend your hearts and not your garments, and return to the LORD your God. For He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in loving devotion. And He relents from sending disaster. Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave a blessing behind Him.”
Often we hear the word “Lent” and we think “lint” — those little fibers that get on our clothes from other fabrics and we use a little sticky lint remover tool to get it off. Lent means sort of the same thing — taking the time to “come clean” — to rid ourselves of the funk and junk that has settled in our hearts. It’s remembering the indescribable sacrifice of love that causes us to want to have hearts “swept clean” for His place of residence in us.
Typically, our thoughts are more on what our next meal will be, or the next TV show to watch, or the next assignment to focus on. Most often, we go about our routines without really ever giving God a second thought. Perhaps, if we release the little things that distract us from God, we will become more aware of the weight of His sacrifice for us. And in turn, we might just be one step closer to fully embracing His grace and unfailing love for us this Easter.
Maybe this Easter will be a here-and-now resurrection to celebrate — the resurrection from our OLD selves to our NEW selves in Him.
“Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily entangle us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1