How is your Lent going? Are you praying, fasting, practicing self-denial and repenting? Are you studying God’s Word in a more disciplined way? Or have you given up chocolate? What ever you are doing, I pray that it is helping you reflect on the gift that God has given us in Jesus Christ. Because Jesus lives, we can experience life at a deeper level. Because Jesus became forsaken so that we could be forgiven, life has meaning and purpose.
In the midst of my own Lenten journey I have taken the opportunity to reflect on how much of my life and happiness seems to depend on others. I know that is not the way to live. Indeed, if we live this way we will find ourselves being manipulated, and it will seem like we live on an emotional (and spiritual) roller coaster. I read something yesterday that reminded me that if we put our faith in other people we would be guaranteed to be hurt. I can take that one step further, if we think that anyone other than God will not hurt us, then we are in for some pretty big disappointments.
I can see my own brokenness only too well. But I also have a pretty good understanding of how broken other people are as well. I am certainly not perfect in this, but I am gaining a deeper understanding of how to prevent disappointment from leading to disillusionment and despair. Interestingly enough, this was not my Lenten plan for the year. But God often has other plans.
I have had to find a way to move away from knowledge to experience; from head knowledge to heart-understanding. For me, it started with an assumption that God is sovereign and people are broken. As I reflected on that, I was given many opportunities to see this truth in action. Then I came face to face with the reality that simply knowing something to be true doesn’t change anything. I had to feel it. I had to have a soul deep connection to this reality. Lent has been such a time for me.
I finally realized that disillusionment and despair are choices. But I don’t have enough will power to choose wisely. I need God. I need his power working in me that can and does do far more abundantly than I could ask or imagine. That is the key. His power working in me takes this head knowledge and makes it operative in my life.
The older I become the more I see the brokenness in and around me. The more I see how easy it is to hurt others and to be hurt. But I am not alone. God is sovereign. His love is unmatchable. His strength and compassion define me. I am his. He is my God.
If this Lent you come face to face with the brokenness of other people, I pray that you not settle for disillusionment and despair. I pray that you will seek a better way.