Sacrifice and longing. Beginnings and endings. Hesitation and certainty. Despair and hope. Darkness and light.
Lent takes us on a “both/and” walk to the cross. We may face so much darkness, but it breaks into the most magnificent light.
There are days when fear threatens to overtake me, but at the same moment, unexplained courage takes its place. Lent has a way of highlighting the honesty and vulnerability of my own life in the context of Jesus’s ultimate sacrifice.
I wonder if you have experienced this too?
The walk is both long and short if you place it in the context of your life.
The good news is that both/and dichotomies move us toward the cross as we walk out our own Lenten journeys.
What Does Your Journey Look Like?
As you face the highs and lows in your journey …
Do you find yourself spinning and swirling as you face challenges and news that is not what you want to hear?
Is your life marked with ups and downs and holding onto the strongholds of trying to balance the “both/and” dichotomies you face?
If your destination is the cross and seeking God’s freedom and redemption, then does it follow that life may not always be easy?
My own life reveals I’m on the other side of middle age and yet I pray for more until the day my journey ends.
What I know as Jesus’s daughter is that I want to make it to the cross. I want to die to myself even when it feels like beginning again on a daily basis.
So, I ask again, “what does your journey look like”?
Maybe your own story of sacrifice and longing is keeping you stuck.
Maybe you are sick and tired of being sick and tired.
Or, maybe hope feels distant or unattainable.
Where or whom do you go to when faced with a life that feels unmanageable or uncertain?
Is Jesus your first call when you need to phone a friend?
Jesus lived a life of ministry that took Him through the highs and lows of everything He preached about.
He knows what we are going through and promises to be with us as we face all life brings us.
How Do We Take the First Step?
It sounds like a million-dollar question, doesn’t it?
The first step into anything new, difficult, or challenging is always the hardest.
But Jesus shows us the way. “The whole life of Christ was a cross.” Thomas a Kempis, Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter
We know this because …
Jesus never took His eyes off the cross. His ministry was lived out with one purpose — to live in love and die in love for our sins.
Jesus held the precious gift of life while modeling self-sacrifice for all who listened to His message. During the time Jesus walked the earth, He also knew that His sacrifice for us created a longing for His Father to “take this cup from me” (Mark 14:36, NIV).
This is sacrifice and longing. This is how we take our own first step.
Eyes lifted, focused on the cross, where sacrifice meets longing, and death meets life.
You may ask:
“What if it’s hard?
For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you (Isaiah 41:13, NIV).
Maybe your question sounds like, “What if I can’t do it alone”?
God assures you:
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you, he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged (Deut. 31:8, NIV).
Here’s what Jesus lived out for you and me:
A sacrifice fulfilled leads to Hope-restored and Love-magnified. It is at the cross where we see Jesus and know who we are as God’s child.
Our destination is also the cross as we die to ourselves to begin a new life in Christ.
Let God do His job and let Him lead you so you can do your best for Him.
Let me leave you with these words:
Watch, learn, act – the formula for a faithful and sane life. Philip Berrigan, Bread and Wine
In watchful waiting and hope,
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‘Sacrifice and longing. Beginnings and endings. Hesitation and certainty. Despair and hope. Darkness and light.’
Your first line captures life itself, Mary. Seeing it in black and white gives me hope in its rhythms …
It’s a wonder we ever move forward with all of the starts and stops in our lives. But with Jesus it is possible. Thank you for stopping by. Blessings as we walk these last two weeks to the cross.
Watch, learn, and act….that really does sum up how God wants us to reflect on His ways, learn who He is, and then be obedient to His word. I can turn away from the cross, and follow my own path. But it is His path that leads to hope and love. Thanks for reminding me what is “living our best life.”
I love that quote. It is so simple but it packs a punch. I pray we all choose to live our best lives because we chose God first.
It’s good to hear your thoughts on this season in which we journey toward the cross. How ironic, when everything within us (and every voice around us!) is telling us to do our own thing and to avoid pain at any cost.
I’ve been thinking lately about 2 Corinthians 4 where Paul says we are “always carrying about in our body the dying of the Lord Jesus that the life of Jesus may be manifest in our body.” There’s some real counter-cultural truth there about what fulfillment and “living your best life” looks like!
Gosh! It’s so good to see you here! I’ve been trying to finish this post since Lent began. I agree that “living our best life” according to what Jesus teaches is nothing like what the world expects. I live so much “both/and” in my own life and that’s okay. I pray you are dong well and finding Lent to be a sacred time of introspection.
Those back burner, slow simmer posts are worth waiting for…