My favourite season in the Christian calendar is Lent. It is traditionally over a period of forty days, modelled after Christ’s forty day fast in the desert, and ends on Good Friday. This year it began on 6 March which was last Wednesday. It is known as Ash Wednesday. Lent is a time for self-examination and soul searching as we consider our state of brokenness and return to God.
This year, we are reflecting on what it means to journey into the wilderness of life. It is in such places that we least expect breakthroughs and victories. For the next five weeks in our bulletin devotions, the meditations hope to point us towards an encounter with God in His Word during this Lent season. These devotions aim to give us an opportunity to reflect on wilderness moments from the Old and New Testaments, and also the desert places in our own lives. Lent points to us the Hope of the Resurrection and the day when every tear will be dried and weary soul, freed.
Ecclesiastes 7:2a (ESV)
It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting …
Sometimes our journey in life takes us into the wilderness. And sometimes we find ourselves suddenly plunged into the house of mourning. As a follower of our Lord, the Christian life is not a promise of a pain-free life. Off and on we do find ourselves burdened and weighed down with heavy loads of care.
Should there be many voices screaming within us… today, listen to and focus on one voice – “A voice cries: In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” (Isa 40:3). It is in such times when we have to walk through the wilderness and it is in such a dreadful place that we can encounter God. The hostility of life cannot separate us from the love of God (Rom 8:35). Allow and trust in the Lord to strengthen you and to blossom you in your faith in Him. Encounter Him.
Turn to His Word and hold on to His promises – “Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.” (Isa 40:4). Believe in God and believe in His Word and let Him fill you with hope and let hope arise in you through the work of the Holy Spirit. Experience Him.
No darkness is too dark for Him. No sorrow too deep for Him. No fear too big for Him – “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (Isa 40:5) Do not allow the adversity of life to cloud our thoughts, our opinions, our emotions and our faith in our God who is more than able to save us. Exalt Him.
Place our disappointments and struggles in life into His hands and seek Him and return to Him. Don’t turn away from Him. It is in the wilderness that we need Him and in the wilderness we can encounter His splendour and might.
The Lord is more ready to speak to us than we are to listen to Him. During this Lent (6 Mar – 18 Apr), dwell in His Word and in prayer. Encounter Him, experience Him and exalt Him.
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord.”
By Amy Ong, Pastoral Staff (YCKC Bulletin 9&10 March 2019)