This is a story of dark and light, now and then, and fear and courage. It is marked with scattered hope and promises that are yours and mine. The story is ongoing and the end is not in sight. The beginning of the story walks us through normal life before the world went dark. A story followed by the now–our present state that is unfamiliar and uncertain.
Who imagined life as we knew it would change from one week to the next? Just when the promise of Spring and all the beauty it beholds was our next right thing, the world went dark. Forced isolation, social distancing, and the shut down of everything but the essentials is now our new norm. An eerie stillness remains in answer to the recommended new behaviors.
A New Normal
We are living in unprecedented times. A life that is used to getting what we need the minute we need it has turned so quickly that many of us are scratching our heads in disbelief. The word preparation comes with a heightened awareness that many of the items on our grocery lists may not be available. A new kind of anxiety fills the air as we realize we might run out of an item that we always had stockpiled in our pantries and closets.
What does this new season look like for you? How do you step out into the unknown without losing your mind?
Oh, how I wish I had answers to those questions and stored up hope to share with each of you. What I know right now is the timing of the pandemic is no mistake. The way our new normal intertwines with the season of Lent leaves me filled with hope. In my own journey to the cross, I am met with suffering and uncertainty. It’s this step by step dive into intentionality and the restlessness that accompanies it where I continue to find God’s presence.
When anxiety fills our hearts and minds, we need only turn to Jesus, the Hope of our Salvation hung on wooden beams because of His deep love for us.
When the Lenten Journey Parallels our Current Life
Lent is the time to slow down, repent, and welcome new life into our midst. It is the journey we take to the cross in humility as we die to ourselves in order to make room for the redemption Jesus secured for us. Just when we think we have Lent figured out, God creates a new way of living–one that is not familiar or easy.
Lent is the season where we recognize our present suffering and future glory. God promises us we will experience both. In a world where suffering seems prevalent, we can still make our way to the cross knowing that Jesus is with us. In this time of straining toward the familiar before the world went dark, we can rest assured that the ending is still the same. The path to the cross still ends with the sacrifice of Jesus. When our own journey is cloudy and the road ahead is not clear, the end still remains certain. The cross awaits Jesus’ arrival and stands strong as a beacon for our own lives. The victory has been won and hope arises.
It’s okay if we have questions. It’s okay if we struggle with staying home. Our hearts feel deeply and our emotions are running rampant. God knows. It’s okay.
This week we walk with Jesus to the cross. Many of us feel the heaviness of the pandemic and our steps are burdened and plodding with heartache. Some of us feel the weight but know the joy that comes at the end of the journey to the cross. Which one describes you?
Take a Step, God is Waiting
This week is one of my favorites. I have celebrated Holy Week since I was a child and even though my focus and understanding have changed, Jesus’ victory has not. Holy Week starts with rejoicing on Palm Sunday and leads us through dark despair and back to praise and worship by the end of the week. I am giving myself permission to let each emotion wash over me as I remember.
Remember the triumphal procession into Jerusalem with Jesus leading the way.
Remember the Last Supper and the gathering of the apostles as bread and wine were shared in Jesus’ name.
Holding onto the memory of the Garden of Gesthsemane and the uproar that ensued with Judas’ betrayal.
Lamenting over the cruel suffering Jesus experienced even before He was hung on the cross.
Rejoicing that Jesus redeemed me by His death and resurrection.
God knows. It’s okay!
What if we stepped into this week together knowing God is still waiting. He’s at the end of this uncertain road we are walking and He is not going anywhere.
Because of Him, we can lean into the tension and feel safe.
Because of Him, as we long for the cross in our weariness and brokenness we can believe God is in control.
And because of Him, peace is ours to claim because God is the reconciler who secured peace two thousand years ago.In a world that has turned upside-down, we can rest assured that God promises the light is not gone, darkness does not have the last word, and Jesus does win. Join me for some Lenten encouragement. #TellHisStory #linkup Click To Tweet
Light is not gone. Darkness does not have the last word. Jesus does win.
May you experience Resurrection-Hope and Unfailing Love this Easter!
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Mary, Your post was absolutely beautiful. They were words well-spoken, and one everyone needs to hear. I will be sharing it. Happy Easter! Maree
Thank you for your kind words. I am praying you find such joy when you experience the Risen Savior tomorrow.
Good morning, Mary.
This post is so beautifully written! Thank you for your words of encouragement! I’m grateful that even when the world has gone dark, He is still our light.
Peace and grace,
Hi Tammy! Thank you for these kind words. I am joining you in gratitude for the Light that eternally shines in the darkness. Easter blessings!
Dear Mary – Thank you my friend! Your words were exactly what I needed for such a time as this! In my mind the similarities between Lent and the Covid -19 crisis have been mingling. God bless you for validating my thoughts. You and your sons and their families have been in my thoughts and prayers. May God surround you with protection from the virus, strength to encourage and share joy.
Sending prayers and love!
Hi Karen! I am blessed that God gave me these words to share. I see so many parallels and connections with God’s timing. He makes no mistakes and I am believing in the hope that He has secured for us. I pray you and your family are well and that we find great joy in the Risen Jesus this Easter.
“Light is not gone. Darkness does not have the last word. Jesus does win.” I love this message, Mary. Thank you for breathing hope into my heart. I am so grateful Jesus is alive! Without that, we would have no hope at all. Love and blessings of a HOPE-filled Easter!
God’s truth is getting me through right now and I am honored that I am able to share His Word to encourage others. May you continue to discover hope in everything as we work away through this unusual season. Easter blessings to you and your family.
The ending is still the same. I will be holding on to this.
It is the perfect truth to hold onto, don’t you think? I am praying you have a wonderful Easter with your family!
Happy Easter, Mary! God is not going anywhere. Amen!
God is not going anywhere! Isn’t that the best news? Happy Easter, my friend!
Amen and amen! The fact that I know who wins gives me hope in these uncertain times.
I’m with you. We can rest easy knowing that Jesus won the victory for us. Happy Easter!
Amen! God has the last say!
Have a blessed Easter Mary, God’s light still sings brightly! 😀
God has the last say and He is the one, true constant in our upside-down world. May you feel God’s love in a deep and amazing way this week.
This is good advice in every way: “I am giving myself permission to let each emotion wash over me as I remember.” It’s particularly poignant to me that this crisis is occurring during Lent and Easter. May we be especially aware of Jesus’s presence this year!
I am not usually one to wear my heart on my sleeve but God has seen to it that I really don’t have a choice. I am giving myself permission to feel all I need to feel. I pray you feel the presence of God in a sweet way this Easter season.
Mary, because of HIM. Amen. We are doing well in all of this. Plans have been cancelled and we have to change things up but overall we are just fine. He IS risen!!!
I am glad to hear you are doing well, my friend! I know it helps me that Spring is here. May you discover Jesus’ sweet grace this week as you make your way to the cross.
I really like that idea of letting my emotions wash over me as I contemplate Christ’s last week of life on earth, Mary. There’s so much to consider and meditate on, especially now that we have this time of isolation and breaking from our routines. I hope you have a wonderful experience worshipping this week and celebrating Resurrection Day! xxoo
I feel God has given us an extra gift this year even though it came in the form of a pandemic. We do have more time to spend with God. I pray you feel God in every way possible this week as we walk toward Easter.
Good afternoon, Mary, thank you for reminding us we have permission not to be ok through this cloud of death. Thank you for moving us through His suffering to celebrate the amazing victory of the Resurrection. May God bless you this Holy Week, sister, in ways you have not yet imagined. Love in Christ, Julie
We live in a world where we all believe we need to present ourselves as confident and okay. Reality says we are not always fine and that is okay. We have been given this incredible gift of time with God and it just happens to coincide with Lent and the walk to the cross. May you experience your own amazing walk to the cross this week.
thanks so much, Mary, for this gentle reminder that it’s no accident that the pandemic and this sacred season are somehow linked.
lent passed me by this year and i have missed that purposeful preparation of other years.
one day at a time. we look forward to celebrating the truth that He is risen indeed. and coming soon …
There are never any mistakes with God. The fact that the pandemic restrictions began at about the same time as Lent seems very fitting. I pray you feel the presence of Jesus completely this week as you make your way to the cross.
Oh, Mary … I want so badly to know how—and especially WHEN—this pandemic story ends. So yes and amen! This is exactly what my heart needed this morning.
I agree with you as someone who is a planner and wants to know all the details before jumping into something. God didn’t really give us much warning and certainly is not providing a timeline. Thank goodness we can still rely on Jesus to remain constant and trustworthy. I am praying for you as you walk through this uncertainty. Happy Easter!
Thank you for this beautiful post in the midst of the chaos all around us. These words are so true, and such a blessing to me today: “Because of Him, we can lean into the tension and feel safe.” He is our only safety, because He has already faced it all for us. I love that photo of the tree branches that broke into the shape of the cross! What a beautiful object lesson. May you be blessed this Holy Week!
It has been so sweet to write again here in this space. Only God could provide such perfect words as we walk into this final week of Jesus’ life and remember all He has done for us. Thank you for noticing the photo of the tree branches. I walked by it several times before I realized that God left a cross just for me. May you have a blessed Easter, Bettie!
Mary, such a good way to put it, “before the world went dark.” It is a very sobering time, but I’m excited to see what’s on the other side of it. Whether it’s ministry in a different way or whether it’s time to go home, your words are true either way:
“He’s at the end of this uncertain road we are walking and He is not going anywhere.”
I am also excited about what God will reveal on the other side of this season. I am also praying that I carry a sense of slow down as well as prayer time with Jesus with me to the other side. May you feel the love of your Savior as an unwavering beacon on the road to the cross.
Having this crisis at this time of year provides so much hope as we plod towards Easter. And I know with spring blooming and the trees budding, nature is providing hope also in a way that if this happened, say during the winter, I am not sure nature would have provided so much hope. God has not left us alone, but is even letting nature sing his glories.
Yes, there is hope to be found in the middle of this uncertain season. Spring does have a lot to do with that but walking out the journey to the cross leads us straight to the One who defines hope. I pray you uncover hope in your own journey to the cross this year.
In a time of darkness, it’s easy to believe that the dark may win, but now, more than ever, we need to remember that Easter is STILL coming and praise that we know how the story ends and Who triumphs over evil. Great post!
Jesus still wins. I love that even when the world is growing dark literally and figuratively we can still trust in the salvation Jesus secured for us on the cross. Blessed to have you here. Easter blessings to you and your family.
Mary, I have been thinking about the parallels between our Lenten journey to the cross and Easter morning resurrection and the current state of affairs in the world too. You are so right – because of Him, peace is ours. Thank you for this good encouragement. I needed to read it this morning!
I would love to know what some of your thoughts were on the parallels between the pandemic and Lent. It is something I couldn’t shake so I knew I needed to write about it. I pray you feel Jesus in amazing ways as you walk your own journey to the cross.
Mary, thank you for re-focusing my heart back onto Holy Week. Yes, with the vast changes that have occurred over the past month, my heart is all over the place. I really like the idea of slowing down enough that I can truly feel each emotion that comes with Holy Week, of reflecting on all that happened and all that Jesus did out of love for us.
As we begin to find normal in our home, it’s becoming easier for my heart and thoughts to settle down and to focus more intentionally on Jesus. Thanks for this beautiful post.
I love how you shared your heart is all over the place. Oh, yes! I relate! In the same breath, I love how God chose a pandemic for such a time as this. Our hearts are tender and ready to receive if we just open them in an invitation to the Father. I am praying you find peace as you walk your own journey to the cross this week.
“I am giving myself permission to let each emotion wash over me as I remember.” Yes–it’s good to acknowledge the sad and anxious as well as the joyous and hopeful while pointing ourselves to truth. I rest in God’s promise of His presence with us every step of the way and His grace for every need.
I’m not sure if you are feeling like me but I can’t help but let the emotions be what they need to be. My usual method of stuffing them will not work. I am joining you in resting in the presence of God in every part of this season.
Mary, you are helping us all to process our feelings about all the losses, big and small, that have come with the pandemic. May we not lose sight of the bigger picture in the coming week. There is so much overwhelming truth packaged in the last few days of Jesus’s life .
I appreciate you saying that I am helping you process because writing is one way that leads me to a deeper understanding. Since one day seems to run into the next currently it helps to slow down, even more, to recognize that the walk to the cross has not changed. Jesus claimed the victory two thousand years ago and it is still ours to claim today.