“The grinding power of the plain words of the Gospel story is like the power of millstones; and those who can read them simply enough will feel as if rocks had been rolled upon them” -G.K. Chesterton
Cheery thought to start Thursday.
The reading I am following for Lent with She Reads Truth comes from Isaiah. The words today made me think of Chesterton’s words.
The Lord of Hosts removing any security from the people of Judah. Ouch. God allowing them to fall to what they truly were in that moment…they had rejected God and were living for themselves. God was going to allow them to follow that through. The result, according to the word of God through Isaiah, was going to be devastating.
People oppressing one another, desperate for a leader. There would be no stability, no security. Fear…that underlies the verses.
Until God says that there will be a day the Branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious. There will be a refuge and a shelter.
The people could not see what they had become. They were fooling themselves, and as long as God allowed them to prosper in that state, they would remain ignorant and rebellious. When they saw the fulfillment of their reality, they would see the deep need for God’s redemption.
When we see ourselves honestly through Lent, we realize the deep need for Jesus.
This morning as I sit, I reached for tea instead of coffee. Something different, something to awaken my senses this morning as I just felt numb to the taste of coffee. And I love coffee. It had become bland to me though…and so I reached for something different. And I drank it from a tea cup my grandmother used with a sugar spoon my great grandmother used.
I read and looked around at my life, which is very good, and realized that it is easy to be complacent in honestly looking at myself. It is easy to doze in the sunlight even when there is so much turmoil all around.
I know there is so much to pray for and about all around us. There are so many dealing with enormous challenges. Sometimes, though, we need the season to look inward. It’s not healthy to naval gaze without end…but sometimes we need the season to quiet down and look honestly at ourselves.
There is something about tangibly changing things. Lent provides the opportunity to change things, tangibly. And sometimes just a simple change…like giving up being judgemental, even for one of the 40 days, helps us think differently. Helps us look differently at ourselves and at our God.
Give up something, something noticeable. 40 Days of changing the routine.
Before God has to remove the security to get our attention. Sometimes God getting our attention is uncomfortable. Sometimes it feels like millstones rolling upon us. Because, the point is…we are fallen and marked by sin. We are in desperate need of salvation.
Sometimes that is not so easy see. Sometimes, though, we see true evil around us and are reminded there is a deeper reality. Ann Voskamp talked about that today:
And if I’m only dust — just my love alone in the world will not be enough.
If love is all we need in this world — I’ve got a problem.
Because, honest? Our love isn’t enough to absorb the evil that decapitates men’s heads, evil that rapes little girls, evil that steals and sells children as sex slaves.
There’s real active evil that’s not simply people acting — there’s real evil that’s more than a social construct, that’s more than someone’s bad choices, that’s not from any heart in this world, that’s not from any place in this world, that’s not from any mind in this world — there’s a supernatural evil that slithers into the corners of this world and pythons around hearts and minds until it strangles out the light and we scream against the dark.
At some point — in a broken world, your Love runs out, and You need a Love larger than your own to Love Larger than evil.
Looking honestly. Honestly like this takes some time to sink in. Some time to settle in our brains and then make its way to our hearts. That is one of the blessings of Lent…it takes its time. Time to understand the reality of sin, and of evil and of a love that is able to turn that all upside down.
A God who comes not overwhelming and not conquering, but instead comes unexpectedly and then dies unexpectedly. A God willing to suffer. A God willing to be in the desert and know what it is to be tempted and to suffer.
The reality of the Cross, the honesty of our need for that reality, Lent provides us the time and the space to remember.
Lent is not just about giving up chocolate or FaceBook.
Lent is about changing our focus and about discipline, discipline in our thoughts.
Discipline in our spirits. We’ve just begun…find a book that helps you focus and helps you look honestly at the world and at yourself, and ultimately draws you back to Scripture to look honestly at the God who changes everything.