The Darkness of Lent
When Jesus began his 40 days fasting in the wilderness (and you think giving up chocolate is a sacrifice?), we are told that he was “lead by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan” (Matthew 4:1, click here for the full passage). Why was Jesus lead by the Spirit into a time of temptation and testing? Don’t we pray “Lead us not into temptation?”
Apparently, there are some ways in which we are strengthened only through trial and temptation. If this was necessary for Jesus, then it stands to reason that it will be necessary for us.
Lent is an intentional time of stepping into the darkness. We face our trials and temptations head on. We peer into the darkness of our souls with unflinching gaze.
Sometimes the darkness is our own, the temptations that come within. Sometimes, as Jesus experienced, temptations that batter us from outside, calling us to take the easy way, the quick way, to shortcut the work God is doing within is.
While God does not bring evil or suffering into our lives as an end in itself, God does allow us to walk through times of difficulties, and sometimes, as with Jesus and the Psalmist, God sends us to face those struggles that dog us. And God does use these times to form us in His image.
Don’t resist God’s work in you this Lent. Let yourself live in the darkness of the wilderness where Jesus walked. Rather than seeking the quick deliverance, seek Him in the midst of trouble for the transformation that can come. That will be a Lent to remember and an Easter all the more joyous!
This column appeared in the March 1, 2020 edition of St. John’s eNews. Click here for the complete issue.
If you are reading this at a different time, you may click here for the curret eNews.