Ash Wednesday came and went more than two weeks ago. That evening my sons and I chuckled over what people give up for Lent--chocolate, French fries, sodas, TV--in the forty days of preparing for Easter.
The Youngest said, "Why not sin?"
A great idea! Giving up a good gift gives us a taste of the sufferings of Christ, but releasing the grip on favorite vices can be a sign of real repentance.
This is my first time to ponder this enigmatic season. It requires grasping two concurrent truths: my wretchedness sent my Beloved to an excruciating, humiliating death and that excruciating, humiliating death revealed my Beloved's incomparable glory. What's more, because death was powerless to hold Him, death is powerless to hold me.
So this season demands sober reflection on writerly sins:
jealousy: Why don't I succeed like her?
fear of man: What's the market? What do people want to
sloth: The writing will just work itself out.
pity: Why does writing have to be so hard?
comparison: Your work is okay, but mine is great.
pride: I am all that.
They aren't just bad. They are death.
Oh, that this season would birth new life through believing God's words.
As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in
whom is all my delight.
I know that it will be well with those who fear God.
Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and
Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the
desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD; trust also in him,
and he will act.
Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on
earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength
of my heart and my portion forever.
Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some
of those who are commending themselves. But when they
measure themselves by one another and compare themselves
with one another, they are without understanding.
Thus says the LORD: "Let not the wise man boast in his
wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not
the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts
boast in this, that he understands and knows me,
that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice,
and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight,
declares. the LORD."
"God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
He sears like an iron and pours balm on the wounds. Next year, this season, may you and I join the psalmist in this invitation:
Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell you what he has done for my soul.
(Scripture taken from Ps 16:3; Ecc 8:12; Ps 37:3-5;
Ps 73:25-26; 2 Cor 10:12; Jer 9:23; Jas 4:6; Ps 66:16,