A friend of mine has been looking for work. The process is slow, and depressing. With each disappointment, frustration and fear mounted. Job hunting is tough. In January, she greeted me with a smile on her face and determination in her soul. “I’ve decided to use this miserable limbo time to care for myself,” she said. “I’ve joined a gym. I’ve met with my trainer and laid out a program of diet and exercise to strengthen my body. Being unemployed I can exercise every day. After two weeks, I’m feeling much better. My spirits have lifted. I have more energy. I’ve added prayer to the program so my hope has returned. I’ve decided to trust God with my future. I’m using this time to prepare. I’ll be ready for the job when it comes.
During the season of Lent, Christians set aside forty days leading up to Easter to care for our souls. Like my friend, we join the program. We spend time talking with God our trainer. We look at our lives, the times we’ve hurt others, the unnecessary luxuries we enjoyed while others went hungry, the things we intended to do but didn’t. Beginning with the service of ashes, we’re marked with the sign of Christ’s cross, a symbol of our repentance. As we journey through those forty days, the program can involve giving up something that we particularly like, not to punish ourselves but to help us focus on giving up our selfish ways. The days lengthen. The light and warmth of spring warms our souls. As we slowly accept God’s forgiveness, our minds clear, our guilt recedes. We’re on the road of thanksgiving. By the time we get to Easter, and the joy of the resurrection we’re ready to celebrate. Our faith is stronger, we’ve begun a new way of living.
“The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! (Matthew 6:22-23 NKJV)