Wandering in the Wait
by Pastor Paula Lawhead
We make Lent into something much more complicated than it needs to be. We get hyper-focused on what we may give up—soda, chocolate, or whatever vice we crave. Some have taken on a newer practice of giving up behaviors instead; such as greed, or judgment or lack, of gratefulness. Some now add in new spiritual practices to live out for the 40 days of Lent. Of course, everyone wants to post about their choice for a Lenten practice encouraging others to follow suit. It becomes a lot to sift through.
And speaking of complicated; do we include the Sundays in the 40-day count or not? Can we sit on the back porch and silently judge our neighbor with a glass of wine and chocolates on Sundays so long as they are not part of Lent? How can we know if we are doing Lent well enough or not? Give up something or add something in? It becomes complicated.
But Lent is simple.
In this season, we are simply called to recognize our need for a Savior in this old world, and experience the fulfillment of God’s promise to never leave us or forsake us.
This time of year, I spend much of my time reviewing and editing the summer Bible study we will use the next camp season. Our theme verse for this coming summer is Psalm 100:5 which says, “For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” We will be looking at how God is faithful in keeping promises. What God promises, God will do!
The first Bible story we will be reviewing is about Abram and Sarai (soon to be Abraham and Sarah) and the promise they received from God regarding children; “You will have descendants as numerous as the stars.” When we read this story in the Bible (Genesis 12 and 21), we see the fulfillment of God’s promise and are excited to see how God follows through. It takes about 10 minutes to get from the original promise to the fulfillment when reading it. Because of this, we don’t always grasp the length of time that has actually passed for Abraham and Sarah. We read about the missteps they made in wanting to make the promise true for themselves—to work it out on their own. We see the misunderstanding and the disbelief that God will actually follow through. But can we blame them? It was 25 years between the initial promise and the birth of their son, Isaac.
“Did God forget about us?” I can imagine Sarah asking. But we know that God keeps promises. God did not forget. And though it is hard to write these words, God’s timing is not our timing. Sigh. When we are long-awaiting a rescue from God, we might find ourselves in this season of wanting to try and figure it out on our own. We will take up or put down whatever practices might bring about God’s favor. We might be racked with our own impatience, misunderstanding, or disbelief. But as we walk through this Lenten season we are reminded what it means to have a God who is good; whose love is steadfast; whose faithfulness is to all generations.
For the Lord has come to rescue you from your sin, from death, and from the work of the evil one in our lives. We can look toward Easter with confidence because what God promises, God will do! We can do our part to live with grateful hearts for God’s promises in our own lives, but it doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that. Because God simply follows through.