The Lenten Season reminds us of all of those times when we know hardship and difficulty. It is a time in-between. We say, “in the meanwhile . . .” And sometimes, in such times, it can really be ‘a mean-while.’
It’s easy to feel ourselves in a muddle, some days, in the midst of one mess or another, in the middle – in this ‘mean time.’ From the lectionary, we read: ‘In the midst of Lent, our faces are pressed hard against the reality of our sin & our death. If we did not know how the story ends, this would be a dark, depressing journey. But we do know how the story ends and therefore in the midst of austerity & fasting we remember our faithful Savior & the Easter declaration that life is always victorious over death – always!’
Frederick Buechner writes, “The biblical view is that history is not an absurdity to be endured, an allusion to be dispelled or an endlessly repeating cycle to be escaped. Instead, it is for each of us as series of crucial, precious & repeatable moments that are seeking to lead us somewhere.”
And, from Psalm 27 (selected verses) — The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident. One thing I ask from the Lord, this only I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord & to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek. Teach me your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path.
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
So we take courage, our hearts grow strong and once again we determine to throw our lives into the struggle on the side of peace justice and love. In the midst of Lent, in the middle and muddle of life, somehow we cling on to God’s Hand: – or perhaps rather, we our hands and our whole being are clutched by God.
My father used to sing a hymn as we worked together in the fields of our farm: – God holds the key of all unknown, and I am glad; If other hands should hold the key, or if He trusted it to me, I would be sad.
What if tomorrow’s care were here, without its rest? I’d rather He unlocked the day, and as the hours swing open, say: ‘His will is best.’
The very dimness of my sight makes me secure; For, groping in my misty way, I feel His Hand, I hear Him say – ‘My help is sure.’
I cannot read His future plans, but this I know – I have the smiling of His Face, and all the refuge of His grace, while here below.
And so, even in a broken world we are full of hope, we Christ-followers – even in Lent, the cold of winter and the deserts of life. We are not alone. We are tended by God. And we. are. so. loved