You might remember that I gave up dessert and alcohol for Lent this year.
I was really looking forward to praying more fervently and getting closer to God throughout the period of Lent. I had high hopes that I’d have a really meaningful fast and I’d come away with some kind of awesome revelation like the neighbor barbeque that was birthed out of last year’s Lenten fast.
No such luck.
Unfortunately I grumbled and complained throughout my Lenten fast this year :(
I’m ashamed that Jesus gave His life on the cross to cover my sin and I couldn’t even give up dessert and alcohol for 40 days without griping about it.
I guess that’s why He’s God and I’m just a feeble human.
The excerpt I quoted at the start of this year’s fast talked about how Lent is not about ourselves or our particular abundance or lack of self-discipline. It continued:
That passage from Life in Grace sums it up better than I ever could.
After whining throughout the entire Lenten fast and wishing I hadn’t tried to re-create last year’s experience by fasting again this year, I ended up at our church’s Good Friday Seder.
As I sat in church on Friday night, I knew I’d be breaking my fast in a couple short hours and surprisingly, I didn’t even care. At that point, the stupid wine and dessert I was going to have seemed to pale in comparison to what God did for me by sacrificing His son.
I realized that I’d squandered a great opportunity to join with thousands of other Christ followers who made the choice to fast and pray during Lent this year.
I was wishing for a do-over, but I was also feeling a very poignant sense of humility. I was munching on a giant bite of humble pie and it was just what the doctor ordered.
Of my own strength, I’m nothing.
I may think I’m so capable and that I have so much strength and endurance but really, I’m just a lost sheep in need of a Good Shepherd to lead me.
Any good gifts I have come from above from my very gracious Heavenly Father.
He loves me despite my whining. He delights in me even though I stumble again and again.
He sent His only Son to die a horrible death as a ransom for my sins.
I’m overwhelmed with thankfulness and at the same time I’m convicted by the unforgiveness in my heart.
During the Seder meal, we ate bitter herbs as a reminder of the bitterness and harshness of the Hebrews’ slavery in Egypt. The next part of the meal is very significant for me because we cover the bitter herbs with sweet charoset (an apple/spice mixture) and we eat them together as a symbol of how God’s love and kindness made even the bitter slavery more bearable for the Hebrew people.
It convicted me this year in particular because our pastor had us recall bitter events in our own lives (unfortunately I have a few that I’m having a very hard time letting go of) and then he had us spread the charoset over the bitter herbs to remind us that God’s sweet love covers even the most bitter circumstances.
If I allow Him to, God can cover the most bitter places in my life with His sweet love. I need to let Him do that.
I need to cover the bitter past with sweet forgiveness.
Oh Lord, give me the strength.