I'm a few days past the end of Lenten season. And here's what I wonder. Been wondering since Ash Wednesday, really.
In the heart of a believer, does Lenten season ever truly end? I mean, really end?
The purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, fasting, repentance and self-denial. The believer is to set aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ - his suffering and his sacrifice, his life, death, burial and resurrection. So, it begs the question. Does it every truly end?
I wake up everyday and have a choice to make. I can deny myself and choose to follow Jesus and His will for my life. Or I can choose the way of the world. We are called to pray without ceasing. To stay in constant communication with God. And gracious knows, I have enough repenting to do every second of every day because I am just one big old mess of a sinner.
As I reflect over the past forty or so days, I understand now why I sensed God calling me to give up worry during this season. I now understand that my heart is so wrapped up in the sin of worry. Time wasted and hearts bruised over things that I have no control over. These days have shown me the lack of my trust. I can proclaim His promises all day long, but it means nothing if I don't claim them for myself. Repeating His promises and believing them are completely different. I'm learning to lean closer into Him and farther away from my own feeble understanding. I'm learning to trust that His way, while not always clear and visible, is always better than what I concoct in my tiny little head. I'm learning to lay it all at the Cross and trust that I can let it go once and for all.
I'm not going to do it perfectly. But perhaps that is the very reason why He called me to this season. To understand that Lent never truly has to end in the heart of the believer.
I want to always be a position to reflect on Jesus and His perfect and painful sacrifice. I want to always remember--not just at Easter--that the tomb is empty. Because He lives.
That is the only reason that I am able to face tomorrow. And all the worries that it will usher forward.
In the past, when I have given up Diet Coke or coffee or chocolate, I couldn't wait until Easter Sunday so I could indulge once more. Never stopping to remember the Cross and the sacrifice and the life that pours forth.
I suppose this year He called me to give up something that will perhaps always have the ability to consume me because He knew it would help me remember. Every time I find myself worrying over something...anything...I stop to remember that His sacrifice was for me. So that I could stop the worrying and the fretting and the anxious contemplating. He stayed on the Cross, felt the sting of death, felt His Father look away from His face. He knew the darkness that would cover the Earth as He laid in wait. For the glorious day when Life eternal would burst forth from the tomb and reign forever.
While today marks the end of this forty day journey for me, it does not mark the end of Lent in my heart. My heart will continue to celebrate Lent all year long.
The nativity scene that still remains in our house helps us remember His birth. His Life. His ministry.
My heart will celebrate Lent everyday as a way to remember His sacrifice and death. His burial. His resurrection.
Christ Jesus lives today! And tomorrow. And the day after that.
My heart sings hallelujah.