Love is the Way We Can Face the Wildness in Ourselves
As pastor, I have often used the Wilderness theme for Lent as I feel this time of reflection and extra examination of our hearts can feel a bit like wandering around in the wilderness. If you haven’t already, I invite you read the condensed sermon that is posted here on my website titled: Where the Wild Things Are. It may give you a clearer understanding of my thinking on this theme.
The Season of Lent is a time in the church year that starts on Ash Wednesday and lasts forty days leading up to Holy Week and Jesus’ crucifixion. The word Lent means “lengthen.” We lengthen our time and focus on Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and what it means for us. In Lent, we examine ourselves and see where we have turned away from God and the path God intends for us … to see where we need to repent, to ask for forgiveness and then make a change. To repent means to “turn around and go the other way.” It can be a frightening thing to come to a God who is righteous and just and to bear the truth of who we really are. But God knows us better than we know ourselves; we cannot hide from or pretend with Him.
Jesus said, in John 3:16, that God loved us (the world) so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, so that that all who believe in Him will be forgiven and will have eternal life. It is only in that amazing love that we dare come to the throne of God, trusting his love will provide the grace we need. In fact, He already has provided that grace at the cross. The commentary in the Life Application Study Bible in the gospel of John says this about Jesus’ love:
“We cannot know the depth of Jesus’ love unless we are willing to face the fact that He knows us completely. Otherwise, we are fooled into believing He must love the people we pretend to be, not the sinners we actually are. Being aware of God’s love is a great motivator for change. His love is not given in exchange for our efforts. His love frees us to really live for Him.”
I have many songs that are favorites but the one that seems to resonate most with me; that melts my heart and brings tears to my eyes is the song He Looked Beyond my Fault and Saw My Need by Dottie Rambo:
Amazing Grace shall always be my song of praise For it was grace that brought me liberty I do not know just why He ever came to love me so He looked beyond my faults and saw my need
And I shall forever lift mine eyes to Calvary To view the cross where Jesus died for me How marvelous the grace that caught my falling soul He looked beyond my faults and saw my need
It is only by trusting in God’s immeasurable, unconditional, amazing love for us that we can bravely face the wildness of sin within ourselves and ask for, and believe in, the sweet forgiveness we receive because “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17) (NKJV)
Our Heavenly Father wants us to come to Him in honesty and trust so that our relationship with Him is real. It is in that loving relationship we gain strength for turning around and continuing on the path He has set for us.
May your Wilderness Journey be accompanied with a strong sense of God’s presence and love going with you.
I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. – Ephesians 3:16-19 (NIV)
In Christ’s Love,