"The Lord will guide you always, and satisfy your needs in [the parched] land, and will strengthen your frame. And you will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."
~ Isaiah 58:11
Years ago, Helen Keller shared, "When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us."
About now many of us are looking at closed doors due to orders to "shelter in place," that we aren't even thinking about the open window. So often during the season of Lent we discover that we seem to adopt a mindset that we must spend our time "giving up something," or turning away from some habit. While this can be a positive thing for some, for others, it can also be the start of something else. For many about now, the experience is more than they can handle.
God's desires for each of us include experiencing joy, happiness, and love, among other things. While some of our choices may keep us from fully realizing that these are essential touchstones of our faith, living out our faith does indeed also involve sacrifice, discipline but also restoration!
The power of the cross leaves an image of suffering and death, and for some, that is often where the image of God ends. I have known people who feel that since Christ suffered, that somehow, they believe that by some circumstance, we too must suffer.
On the same note, I also know people who hate this image, and that they can't wait until Easter morning to cry out to others, "He has risen."
Both are important if we are going to experience the fullness of the Gospel. We must have death if there is going to be resurrection. We must have the resurrection if we are going to have eternity.
While we continue to make our way through this season of Lent, don't find yourself getting caught in staring at doors that have been closed with new choices, or when turning back, also be sure to recognize the open window, allowing the light of God's love to shine. The restorative power of God is really what Lent is about. It is the still small voice within each of us, calling us to be who God wants us to be.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2020
Dear God, help me not to forget that when I find that I am sacrificing or surrender to Your desires for my life, that You are also restoring and creating within me the love, hope and joy that You have for me. Amen.
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.