It is impossible to arrive at midwinter and not eagerly look, through the cloud of cedar pollen borne on the wings of an arctic front, toward Easter. Easter, heralding the spring, renewal and revival. We are so anxious for that day, we turn out our winter décor a little too soon, grasp for pastels and bunnies and flowers, attempt to brighten our lives. Here in central Texas, the false promise of spring occasionally tempts the trees to bud a few weeks early, only to be cut off by a late freeze, an ice storm at an inopportune time.
Patience, breathes our God, the promise warm. He will not leave us in the wasteland.
We are just about to enter Lent – the forty days before Easter in which we commemorate Jesus’ time in the desert. The meaning of Lent is easily distorted; legalism relishes a time for rules and regulation, after all. I grew up in such a tradition, plunking dimes into a box for every piece of chocolate I snuck or curse word I let slip. The entire point was lost on me. As I entered into a relationship with Christ, this was one of the biggest things He redeemed for me; there is a purpose in “giving up” the things of this world, to admitting I have idols and forcibly turning from them, tossing them on the fire. That purpose is to take my fill of His word and His presence.
Just as CrossPointe will take a day to fast, to draw closer to our God, so Lent is meant as a time to focus on spending time with our Lord. We were asked at our retreat – is there something you are willing to give up in order to spend MORE time with Him? That question stayed with me. There are so many things, worldly and material, but also on my heart, weighing my soul. So I will challenge myself in this, and put some parameters on it. For the forty days of Lent, beginning on February 14, what will I give up – or even add to my life – in order to spend more time at the feet of Christ?
That has the power to change me. I have to be willing, eager, to let it. To let Him.
My impatience for spring can yet be softened, I believe. It can be anticipation, for the glory of the Risen Christ. I can take the time to think and pray on the meaning of His sacrifice, in order that I might appreciate the reality of His glory.
When spring arrives, as gentle as a lamb or as mighty as a lion, it will be as God intends it to and in His time. All I can do in response is to temper my impatience – a thing of this world, remember, a sin born at Eve’s feet – by seeking the safety and assurance of His presence.
Written by Michele Samuelson