A Hard And Welcome Relief


I've been spending a lot of time during this season of Lent asking for forgiveness.  

In all of the busyness of moving, working and managing life, I've found myself experiencing the anger and frustration that often comes from stress--both real and imagined.   

You see, when you get busy it's easy to narrow the margins in your life, and, when your margins for error get narrowed, it's easy to get stressed. And when you get stressed it's way too easy to take it out on the people closest to you.  

I've had to plead forgiveness  over the past couple of weeks from my son for barking at him when we were running late to school.  I've had to do the same from my wife for a number of neanderthal moves on my part that caused hurt and tension. 

It's a long list of things--all the ways I need forgiveness.  Maybe you've got one of those lists, too.  I think we probably all do.  

Lent is a good time to think and talk about repentance. It's a time when many of us naturally feel the weight of our brokenness as we limp toward Easter---stumbling out of the cold, stiff and cracked from our frailty.   

It can be a time when repentance feels like a hard, but welcome relief.  

Walter Brueggeman writes that Lent isn't merely at time to dump some bad habits for forty days.  In fact, he sees repentance as something that is fueled by trust in a good, loving and gracious God.   

Brueggemann writes, "Lent is rather seeing how to take steps into God's future so that we are no longer defined by what is past and no longer distracted by what we have treasured or feared about the present." 

I'm often overwhelmed by my sense of God's patience toward me.  

I show so little trust that God isn't holding my past against me.  I am constantly laying up my treasure here on earth because I don't trust God to handle my present.  And still God gives me grace, teaches me to love, convicts me of sin and guides me to forgiveness.  

May you offer your true, heartfelt repentance today for all of the things you've done or left undone that have strained your relationship with others and with God.  May you also discover all of the ways God desires you to be reconciled, renewed and restored.  

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen. 

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