Captured By The Unexpected
Lent. Like the awkward guest around the dinner table. The time that commemorates fasting, ashes, self-denial, suffering, and the wilderness. It sits between the glamorous festivities of Christmas and the happy Easter celebrations.
Speaking of the dinner table, lent has me thinking about our kitchen and the sunrise. I love the sunrise. The windows in our kitchen and living room capture dawn’s light and the sun fills and pours into these rooms. When it’s still twilight, of course I turn on the light switch to find my way to the coffee, and the Cheerios for my little daughter who apparently wakes up furiously hungry. But when the sun rises the light fixture becomes irrelevant; streams of perfect warm light sufficiently fill our kitchen. For me lent is about that twilight, the right before dawn part of the day, that part of my home.
In longing for light to clearly see who God is, what He has done, and what He is doing I’ll sit in the dark, early in the morning and spend some time listening and asking God to show me this. Lent is a time to set aside distractions so God can show us a little more of who He is.
There is a place for lent even as awkward and marked with suffering as it may be. Lent is upheld by the same love that endured the cross, the suffering, the sacrifice that Jesus became. Our faith and life with God rests upon this point. So we love him back with the love He has poured out for us.
Our God seems to be so unexpected at times. In 1 Kings 19 The Lord told this great prophet Elijah to go stand on the mountain of the Lord. And when Elijah went there, the Lord was passing by! As a result of the Lord’s greatness, a huge strong wind broke rocks, but the Lord was not in this strong wind. Then an earthquake came, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. Then a fire, and the Lord was not in the fire either. Then the sound of a gentle blowing…and in the midst of the gentle blowing the Lord speaks. So unexpected right? This God chooses to reveal Himself in the humble smallness of a breeze.
Then Jesus. A Jewish man who said He was the Messiah but it all seemed wrong, even to his closest friends and followers (check out Mathew 16:23). The Messiah was to conquer triumphantly and make everything right, right now, they thought.
So this God kind of blows my mind. I need this God who cannot be confined to my own constructs, expectations, and I need Him and his redemption more than my next breath. I need to set aside time, distractions, and my own standards of happiness to know who this beautiful God is. His ways are not like mine and without effort set aside to know Him for who He is, I fear I’ll miss the beauty of the unexpected, extraordinary God. He is the one who makes beauty from ashes.
God, creator of everything, sovereign and powerful came to suffer, be ridiculed, and die here on earth… it seems to be out of place. But this is the powerful story of redemption that God has ordained. This is what we seek to remember and draw close to during lent. The cross is where our hope for life lies.
Here’s to the beauty of your wilderness, your sacrifice. For that place we’re sitting today, the God who is wrapped in light will give us comfort and light to know Him. He will give us hope for what is not yet but what is as real as that sunrise. The King who has come and is coming, Faithful and True, this God will be our light and we will see His face. We will be with Him forever. That is the joy of the One who is love and longs to be together.