Lent 2020

A week or two ago, I posted on social media:

"Out of the depths I cry to You/
In darkest places I will call/
Incline Your ear to me anew/
And hear my cry for mercy, Lord.../
I will wait for You, I will wait for You/
On Your Word I will rely/
I will wait for You, surely wait for You/
Till my soul is satisfied." {Shane & Shane}
This time of year is, weirdly frequently, one where there seems to be incredible amounts of chaos and devastation going on in the lives of people I love. Whether it's cancer, depression, anxiety, suicide, break ups, or other drama, it usually feels like there's this desperate attempt of darkness to achieve a strangle hold as winter dies and we look forward to celebrating Christ's resurrection.
I've appreciated the words of other Christians -- psalmists, songwriters, story tellers, prayer warriors -- who give voice to the depths of the darkness we experience and the sure hope of the light to come. And today, I'm thankful for sunshine and spring-like temperatures, for walks around the neighborhood, and for quiet and space.

I sat outside on the porch one day, stacking rocks as the thoughts and feelings in my heart swirled around like a storm.

This season of Lent is different than other years have been, because this year I'm engaged.  I feel the tension of already-but-not-yet, of preparation, more acutely and tangibly and personally than I have at most other times in my life.

Ever since Tyler introduced it to me, Nathan Partain's song A Lovely Wait has been right at the top of my list for favorite Lent songs and, y'all, I am feeling it in new and deeper ways than ever this time around.  Simply the line "it's a lovely wait to be with You" captures the in-between feelings that I have in this season of preparation -- impatiently eager for the waiting to be over, for it to be time to celebrate, yet also savoring the ache of anticipation of a very good thing. 

Yet a Little While by Jonathan Gabriel Masters is also perfect, and I'm just going to leave it here without further comment right now.

The start of this year has held a lot of good things -- laughter, friends, chances to celebrate and rejoice in the generosity and kindness of God -- and also a lot of devastatingly hard things: death, sickness, uncertainty, the brokenness of the world crowding in from every angle.  Day by day, I'm reminded of my own insufficiency, and day by day, I'm reminded of God's complete sufficiency to meet all my needs.  The whole concept of manna being something that was provided along with the actual need for it makes me squirm -- I like stockpiling and having a sense of security, but it is good for my soul to have to depend on God always and not get far in the feeling that I have everything under control of my own accord. 

Being engaged is also helping me think about the relationship of the church and Christ as we wait for His return, for the wedding feast.  There are so many things to do (some of them not my favorite) in preparation... but even those are an opportunity for deep joy because they have a purpose and are done in hope.  Whether it's collecting addresses or negotiating details, making time to spend with God when a thousand other things clamor for my attention or choosing to love people who I'd rather be snarky with, it's helpful to know that these small things are preparation for a great thing.

Anyway... this isn't my most polished piece of writing ever, but something is better than nothing, so that I don't forget what's been going on.  I hope that in this season of Lent (and spring coming, and the coronavirus craziness, and all of the pieces of your own life) that you too are having moments of coming closer to God and knowing how greatly He loves you. 


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