Are you observing Lent?
Growing up within a Catholic city, I was aware of the idea of Lent. In my mind, it was a time to give up something. But I never really made the connection of how that sacrifice impacted my relationship with God.
Dr. Page Brooks says, “During the Lenten season, I recommend that believers pray and find the one thing in their lives upon which they depend the most that keeps them from depending upon Christ the most… Each time you feel the need to rely upon that “thing,” let it be a reminder to you of your absolute dependence upon the Lord.”
What is the one thing in your life that you depend upon instead of depending on Christ?
I struggle with migraines. Some days, they are dull and just annoying. Other days, they are intense and I have to sequester myself to a dark room with an ice pack on my head. I’ve been to many doctors and tried many medicines. I’ve prayed and had other people pray. But the migraines continue on.
I have to believe that there is a purpose for them – there is a reason that God allows them to continue. And if I am going to have to live with them, I want to learn all that God can teach me through them.
Romans 5:3-5 says “We also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
I know that my meager migraines are nothing compared to the “afflictions” of the New Testament church, but I still think this verse in applicable. God is already enabling me to “endure.” But am I allowing Him to produce character through that endurance?
And I am allowing myself to hope? I’ll be honest, most days I’m not very hopeful. But that’s because my hope becomes misdirected. Instead of hoping for relief, I should remember our hope of heaven – where all afflictions will cease.
And even though our deliverance might not come here on earth, we are not abandoned. We are given the Holy Spirit as our companion. And the Holy Spirit fills our hearts with God’s love – even in the midst of afflictions.
As I consider Lent, I’m not actually giving up something. Instead, I hope to refresh my dependence on Him. And remind myself what He can produce through that. As I feel a migraine start, I’ll recite Romans 5:3-5 and pray that through this, God would give me endurance, develop my character, and remind me of my hope.
Are you observing Lent?