I have a tendency to start things enthusiastically but not finish strong; like a match that burns brightly when first lit but quickly dies down to an ember. Along with others at church, I decided to give up something for Lent. The first few weeks were exciting as we shared with one another about our fasts. But now as we enter the fourth week of Lent, I feel the adrenaline wearing off and it’s not as exciting anymore.

I’ve always loved the rush that came with trying new things or starting new projects. It’s helped me grow in my career where everything is fast moving and you have to adapt to changes very quickly. But when it comes to my personal growth and my relationship with family and friends, that mentality doesn’t help me at all. Instead of moving on, I need to slow down and stay in the moment rather than looking for the next new thing. 

When it comes to my messy and dark issues, I will do everything I can to distract and numb myself so I don’t have to deal with them. It’s only in the past few years where I’ve learned to sit and face what Paul calls, “the wretched man that I am.” — not to wallow in self-pity or shame, but to see Jesus in my sin and filth as much as my salvation and joy. 

Becky and I do our devotions with Tim Keller’s Songs of Jesus, and we recently were on Psalm 38:9-10:

O Lord, all my longing is before you;
my sighing is not hidden from you.
My heart throbs; my strength fails me,
and the light of my eyes-it also has gone from me.

That is a prayer from someone that knows how to sit in the mess and cry out to God within it. It’s a prayer that I’ve been too scared to pray. But this Lenten season is challenging me to slow down and be present for all the moments, both good and bad. 

As we look ahead to Good Friday, I think about Christ at Gethsemane, the night he was betrayed and how he sat in his own tears, sweat, and blood. He reached deep into his humanity and held onto the ache and fear of going to the cross. 

It was our sin that drove Christ to the cross. He knew that we alone could not bear the weight of our brokenness so He went through the suffering that was meant for us. He stayed in the darkness and overcame it so that we can be in the light. Because of the resurrection, we can now “run with endurance the race that is set before us.” We no longer have to be scared of seeing our faults, or wish that we can just get Lent over with and move onto the next thing, because we are “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Prayer: 

May I never lose the wonder
The wonder of the cross
May I see it like the first time
Standing as a sinner lost
Undone by mercy and left speechless
Watching wide eyed at the cost
May I never lose the wonder
The wonder of the cross

— Vicky Beeching