Tending to the Tension of Lent

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"He regards the prayer of the destitute
    and does not despise their prayer" (Ps 102:17)

“There is so much pain and I cannot bear it” (paraphrase mine), cries out the psalmist, likely an Israelite in the Babylonian exile. Like the psalmist, we understand that the harsh realities of the world seem are too much to bear. Yet, shunning the temptation to turn inward, the psalmist processes his grief with God. And with God, the psalmist expands his view, remembering the mighty deeds that Yahweh has done and will do, and ultimately praising Yahweh’s unchanging character.

Although the psalmist ends praising God’s unchanging character, we must note that he does not start there. How often I want to flip to the end, to move onto “cheerier” topics, to skip over the mourning of Lent to the victorious resurrection. However, the goodness of God is not merely found in the empty tomb on Easter morning. And I pray that we might lean in and lay hold of the gift God has for us here, in the tension of Lent, rather than straining toward Easter to relieve its discomfort.

Let us pray together for what God has for us these next several weeks. Dear LORD, we praise you that you do not demand that our hearts be quiet in our pain, nor do you require our independence or innovation for its resolution. Draw us to yourself and teach us to pour out our hearts and troubles to you, reminding us that you meet us in our need and frustration. Expand our view beyond our current circumstances, LORD, not as a denial of reality, but as assurance of your goodness and character throughout eternity. And form our hearts so that when Easter morning arrives, we may rightly grasp its glory and grace. Amen.


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