Lenten Meditations

Posted By Horizon Staff March 3rd, 2013 in Editors Pick : 0 COMMENTS

Wesley Zuidema
Staff Writer

To be honest, this season of life is incredibly busy. Mid-terms are coming up, term papers are screaming onto the radar with a vengeance, and some of us have the added stressor of graduating in two months and having to figure out life after the dust of academic Armageddon settles. It is not an easy season to find rest.

And yet, ironically, it is also the season of Lent, the season of waiting and fasting and being silent before the Lord. Personally, I have found rest difficult in this season. God seems far, peace unattainable. I am weary with homework and papers which are having the unfortunate effect of distracting me from God rather than helping me to love him with my mind. So I think this article will be a quiet, rambling walk through the desert of this Lenten season, in the hope that some living water might find us in our hour of need.

Last year around this time, Britt Merrick spoke in chapel. He had a simple message for Westmont: “You will never do better than Jesus.” Those words have stuck with me, alternately buoying my spirit in seasons where God’s joy has filled my heart, and making my soul restless in deserts where his presence is hard to find.

Poring over my journal, I found a prayer of confession I wrote following Britt’s talk last year. I share it with you today in the hope that in the midst of this busy season, we can find time to be still before our God and as a community orient ourselves toward his love and his peace.

You have known me, but I have not known you. You have pursued me, but I have not pursued you. I have squandered so many of the hours and days and dollars you have given me on foolish and temporary things, and withheld my best from you.
I have contributed to the brokenness of the world around me, and pridefully clung to the stubborn brokenness of my own heart. I have called evil good and good evil, and insisted that my best efforts are sufficient for salvation.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Forgive my lukewarm and distracted heart, and let me know again the joy of your salvation.
Be my salvation, that my heart might be found in you. Be my redeemer, that my life might become a resounding song of praise, now and forever. Make me new, and help me to love you with my whole life.”

Gary Moon also spoke to us last year around this time, and he too shared a prayer which I had almost forgotten until I found it in my journal. He asked us to pray in every moment, no matter how stressful, “Lord, I am not in a hurry, for you are with me.” Almost daily I need the reminder that at its core, peace is not about checking things off your to-do list or finding security in what you have accomplished. It is about who is with you every step of the way.

The last meditation I’ll share that has brought me comfort during this season of Lent is the reminder that God is waiting for us in the deserts of our lives, calling us into communion with him in the places we feared he would not follow us. Psalm 139 has proven particularly encouraging for me when I feel far from the presence of God. It is comforting to know that God is not surprised by our brokenness, nor does he fear to follow us to the edge of our worlds so that we might know his great and unfailing love.

In the spirit of contemplative ambiguity, which I think of as unique to the Lenten season, I’ll close with a poem that reminds me that God is never far, even when we find ourselves in the middle of the desert.

“Let your heart be heavy with the words you are too new to speak,
Too small to understand.
For the truest things are too deep
To know all at once.
It takes a life of sunrises
To begin to understand
That we cannot create the best beauty.
We cannot lay the foundation for the first things.
Our hearts remember the strongest songs
In the hour of their need,
But they are discovered, not created,
Left for us in secret places by the One who knows our names.”

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