REFLECTION FOR THE FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT 2013 by Cathy Goretsky
Good morning! It’s a cold morning for us here in Florida. We are not used to temperatures in the 30’s! Here is the Reflection for this week. Please feel free to share it with your friends and family. The Reflections are written to be shared. I love to hear where they travel once they leave my computer! Let’s pray for each other this week. God will provide the strength that we need as He has always done for His children.
REFLECTION FOR THE FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT 2013
By Cathy Goretsky
Taking the 90 Day Bible Reading Challenge in this Year of Faith has given me a new appreciation for the Old Testament story of God’s people as they toiled in Egypt, were released, and traveled through the desert seeking the Promised Land. What a story it is! It is a story both of our human nature’s weakness and frailty and of God’s infinite patience and grace. Time and again God’s people fail to follow His Law and they suffer the consequences of their actions. And time and again, God hears their cries of anguish and gives them renewed strength and they respond by becoming faithful once more. As time passes, they again fall away from the ways of their ancestors and the observance of God’s Law and again they suffer the tragic consequences. Their story truly presents a roller coaster of humanity’s weakness and God’s grace, one following the other. If you really want to appreciate the loving nature of God and His patience, read the first few books of the Old Testament.
My studies so far have made me realize that for all of our wonderful discoveries and fantastic achievements, we are really no different than those people who complained to Moses about their hardships in the desert to the point where they said they had been better off as slaves in Egypt! Talk about a group of ungrateful whining children! How easy it is to see ourselves in the stories of these early Israelites. We grumble and complain when things become difficult. We like the “easy life”, even if it means that we are slaves to our habits. We like our creature comforts. We like to be cool on a hot summer day. We like to be cozy and warm on a cold winter’s night. We are impatient. We don’t like to wait for things we want. We complain when there are long lines in the supermarket. We like our favorite place to sit in church. We don’t like to move in to let the late comers have a seat. After all, we think, we got here on time so we could have this seat. We think to ourselves “Why should I move over for these people who got here late?”
So, given our weaknesses and failings, how have we done with our Lenten sacrifices so far? It hasn’t even been a week yet and we may have decided that it’s too hard to give up the things we enjoy. Remember, God is infinitely patient. He always gives us another opportunity. God knows us better than we know ourselves. He will always allow us to begin again. Psalm 33 has words that remind us that God is always near, not to condemn, but to see our difficulties and renew our resolve.
“From heaven the Lord looks down and observes the whole human race, surveying from the royal throne all who dwell on earth. The one who fashioned the hearts of them all knows all their works.”
If, indeed, God’s Word tells us that He is constantly aware of each one of us to the point of knowing all of our works, then He also knows all of our weaknesses, our troubles, our heartaches, our loving kindness toward others, the little things we do to brighten another person’s day. He knows it ALL. Nothing is hidden from Him and yet, for each one of us, ungrateful and sinful as we sometimes are, He was willing to stand in our place by suffering death on a cross. That thought is one that we should keep in our minds and hearts as we begin each new day. It will help us to be strong and to have the ability to do whatever it is we have promised Him that we will do to show our gratitude for His sacrifice for us. As we travel through the desert of Lent toward the glory of Easter morning, we can be renewed in strength by meditating on God’s loving patience with us. He knows our struggles, our weaknesses and our strengths. He is there to hear our cries for help. He will be our constant help as we try to “keep Lent” to the best of our frail human ability.
Psalm 91 is one of the Scripture readings for this First Sunday of Lent. Its words are worth writing on an index card to read during the week ahead when we find it difficult to honor our Lenten fast.
91: 15-16: “Whoever clings to me I will deliver; whoever knows my name I will set on high. All who call upon me I will answer. I will be with them in distress; I will deliver them and give them honor. With length of days I will satisfy them and show them my saving power.” – New American Bible