This is Day Whatever in the season of Lent and I still find that I am a sinner in need of a Savior. I had high hopes about a month ago. I made a list of a few things I was prepared to give up. And a shorter list I was going to take on. I made the determination that I needed more bible reading, more prayer time, less sugar, and a few more minutes reading a devotional that my church has published. And I intended to write deep thoughts in a journal too. So how is it going?
I do have a bit more time in prayer each day. But I haven’t read the bible more than I usually do. It feels like I’ve dropped a few pounds…but I also had back surgery so it may be that I have lost weight in my recovery. The devotional time with my wife has been wonderful. But my journal entries are spare. Very. (I hate writing in a journal. More on that later; it deserves its own blog entry.)
I honestly wasn’t looking to achieve spiritual perfection. It’s just that I thought that I could do a few things that would move my heart a bit more toward holiness. But it doesn’t budge much. I still am judgmental. I still have CCS (Chronic Critique Syndrome). I still find plenty of sin to confess every day. I haven’t achieved much progress at all.
I know that I can’t achieve anything like perfection from things I do. I know that. The Book of Common Prayer routinely reminds me that I have no power in myself to help myself. At the end of Lent I will surely have 40 more days of proof of that.
I haven’t really achieved anything this Lent.
But I think He has. Maybe.
I have been going through some very difficult circumstances that would have floored me in previous periods in my life. But I have had a strange sense of Peace about these circumstances. One is physical. One is church related. One is about an unknown part of my future (It’s always the future!). But I have not felt any anxiety at all. Instead, I’ve had Peace. I know these little Lenten things that I promised to do on Ash Wednesday have not vaulted me to higher realms of holiness. As I say, my heart hasn’t budged. But they might have created a small space of quiet where God could find me most every morning. These small things cannot earn me anything; they are not for my achievement at all. But God has be pleased to give me His Peace in these hard circumstances.
Through this season of Lent, He has shown me my mortality and my precarious hold on life. (Surgery tends to remind you of these things; the waivers you have to sign indemnifying the doctors are horrible reminders of death.) But God gave me a strong sense of Peace and Security. He has shown me His goodness and patience in a very transitional time in my ministry. I am so thankful for that. And he has reminded me of His method of bearing fruit in my ministry: my abiding in Him. And he has calmed my fears about the future.
Thank the Lord.
(Featured Image by Stefan Kunze)