Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Forced Lent

Lent is generally a season where you give up something comforting in order to get the real comfort given by the death and resurrection of Christ. Not coming from a very orthodox variety of Christianity, I never gave up anything for Lent. However, in the past few years, I have decided to give it a go and give up things like TV, potato chips (my most serious self-deprivation to date), and Facebook. Now looking back, I don't exactly remember that I found any huge jewels at the end of that scavenger hunt, at least nothing more than any other mild pursuit of God that I have ventured before.

Just a few moments ago, however, it just dawned on me (after listening to some podcasts about lent and wilderness for my creative writing group) that, this year, God has chosen my Lenten sacrifice for me. No, I don't think God has snatched away something of value from me in order to teach me a lesson, but, I do believe that since life is a journey of suffering, He is able to magnify the times of pointed wilderness-wandering and remind us of the beauty in suffering and what is on the other side. In times of intense pain, whether self-inflicted or simply the result of the brokenness of life, the promise that God will show up feels all the more poignant.

As we await the diagnosis of the cause of our son's hallucinations (so far we have a possible diagnosis of epilepsy caused by either a malformation or a tumor in his brain), I feel the intense dryness of the unknown, the hopeless futility of walking in circles and the panic of being left alone. But, I think I can handle all of this if, along this wild and painful path, I also get a glimpse of God's back — a brief moment when the light comes on and I see Beauty so much clearer because it has been cast so closely next to Darkness. The promise that God draws us into the wilderness in order whisper his unfailing love to us is a comfort, and I even dare to say, an appealing proposition.

Though I know this is not the Lent I would have chosen for myself or my family, I trust in the God who tasted the full suffering of this life, drank from the cup of death and overcame. Of course, I am looking forward to that last part the most.


  1. just read your post again. as always, a convergence of truth, beauty, hope and the wayfaring-stranger-ness of this life. xoxo

  2. So true.. i want to quote some of this on my page. I hope your writing is as therapeutic to the author as it is for the reader.

    Thanks and we will be here as best we mortals can as friends any time you need.

  3. The presence of Jesus with you is evident and beautiful to see, even if it also brings tears, just hearing the circumstances. I pray the "overcoming" will be applied to your son (and to you and Dave) now, in the midst of suffering.