Today we begin our descent into the wilderness of Lent.
The wilderness metaphor associated with Lent refers to the 40 days of testing that Jesus endured as he began his ministry. That period for Jesus was foreshadowed by the 40 years of wilderness wandering of the Israelites between the slavery of Egypt and the wide open spaces of the Promised Land. For many of us, it means 40 days without chocolate or television.
But the next 40 days are about more than setting aside our worldly pleasures (or in my case, obsessions). They are a season of getting to know Jesus in our hunger, our thirst, our quietness, and maybe even our loneliness.
The other seasons of the church calendar focus on the glory and majesty of Jesus. The birth of the King, the worship of Messiah, the resurrection of a Savior, the ascension of the Lord of lords, and the falling flames of the Spirit all invoke awe and wonder.
But during the 40 days leading up to the death of Jesus, those 40 days when we walk with Him through the desert wilderness and find ourselves hungry like him, we remember his humanity, and the great humbling that happened when he took on flesh.
During Lent, I often find myself looking around me to find the wilderness experiences that will help me connect to my suffering savior. But as I was looking around today, I came upon Psalm 143 and realized that it is not my circumstances that cause me to thirst the most; it’s my own soul. The wilderness within.
I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all Your doings;
I muse on the work of your hands.
I stretch out my hands to You;
My soul longs for you, as a parched land.
I pray that the parched land of the wilderness within your own soul will lead you to the God-man, Jesus, today.