Lenten Devotional: Thursday, March 14

Psalm 19Psalm 46Psalm 50Psalm 59Psalm 60
Deuteronomy 9:23 – 10:5
Hebrews 4:1-10John 3:16-21

Therefore, a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God. And whoever enters into God’s rest, rests from his own works as God did from his. Hebrews 4:9-10

“. . .whoever lives the truth comes to the light. . .” John 3:21

Our readings for today offer us both rest and light. As the days continue to lengthen and morning light wakes us up earlier and earlier, holding these two gifts simultaneously can be initially confusing. When our daughter was young, we invested in blackout shades for her bedroom window in hopes that she could fall asleep on summer evenings before the sun fully set. Light, as most parents of young children learn through experience, is not conducive to sleep.

But Lent and our Christian tradition invite us into the comfort of reflection. Think of the darkest moment in your life or your family’s life. My guess is that this very moment was probably one of the moments you have felt least rested in your life. There is a bone-deep exhaustion that accompanies our efforts to deal with difficult times and crises. Such exhaustion is not just the effect of a lack of sleep. Rest does not come only from sleep. Rest depends upon hope.

A Chinese proverb reminds us that “You can only go halfway into the darkest forest; then you’re coming out the other side.” This proverb’s wisdom, that however dark a moment may seem to us, it also contains a potential turning point, offers an opportunity for grounding. Rest comes from surrendering the burden of the darkness to God, from allowing God to lead us out of the forest. This is the hope that our readings today encourage us to trust: truth is the lighted path that leads us to the rest that God has ordained for us.

Prayer:

There is an appointed time for everything,
and a time for every affair under the heavens. (Eccles. 3:1)
Lord, help me to accept the gifts of light and rest that you offer.
Amen.