You Don't Have to Know

Monday – Isaiah 53.3-5. “The season of Lent was designed by our forebearers to give us ample time to consider all that Christ did for us in his entire life of suffering, as that culminated in his death on the cross. Indeed, we cannot appreciate the immense triumph of Easter if we don’t recognize the enormous cost it required. They were wise to put Lent’s forty days into the calendar to keep us mindful of the great sacrifice of Christ and the immense love of the Father, and the overwhelming grace-full, grotesque suffering of the Trinity” (Marva Dawn, Morning by Morning).

Tuesday – Matthew 3.16-4.11. “In many cultures there is an ancient custom of giving a tenth of each year’s income to some holy use. For Christians, to observe the forty days of Lent is to do the same thing with roughly a tenth of each year’s days. After being baptized by John in the river Jordan, Jesus went off alone into the wilderness where he spent forty days asking himself the question, what it meant to be Jesus. During Lent, Christians are supposed to ask one way or another what it means to be themselves” (Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking). It’s not always a pleasant task, but it can lead us to an Easter experience.

Wednesday – Psalm 51.1-6. One of the processes we go through in Lent is reflection upon what sin has done to us and to our world, with an accompanying longing for redemption and restoration. In this psalm, David is certainly expressing both of these aspects, as he mourns the consequences that his own sin has brought upon himself and others and his dependency on God for forgiveness and restoration. “When you look at the face in the mirror, what do you see in it that you most like, and what do you see in it that you most deplore?” (Buechner, Wishful Thinking) The only thing we get to keep is the person God helps us to become.

Thursday – Psalm 51.10-17. Thankfully, God is One who forgives, redeems, and restores. Of all the things you have done in your life, which is the one you would most like to undo? Have you brought this in honest confession to your Heavenly Father? Have you opened yourself to his forgiveness, and are you allowing the Holy Spirit to do his redeeming work in you? In this life, we still face the consequences of our choices, but we walk as forgiven, with nothing blocking our fellowship with God.

Friday – Psalm 139.7-16. This passage is beautiful poetry, and contains such a wonderful truth. No matter where you go, whatever your circumstances, God knows where you are and is there with you. From conception until death, God is there, aware of who we are and what we need. Sometimes, it’s a real stretch, a courageous act for us to trust that in times of deep pain or hardship we are in God’s sustaining presence.

Saturday – Jeremiah 17.5-8. “God’s plan for all of us is infinitely bigger than we have ever dreamed. We have limited vision, and we look at our own resources and plan accordingly. Unbelief is the fear that if I let God have my life, he will hurt or deprive me. The reason he asks for absolute control of my life is that anything short of total surrender will force the perversion and abortion of the good plans he has established for me. His good plans can only be accomplished if you relinquish your future to him” (Dr. Dennis Kinlaw, This Day with the Master).