How do we know when we are IN LENT? When do we know Lent has become really real? I believe it is when we are tempted to resort to praying to God to make us strong and successful in the Lenten disciplines… It is then that the test comes.
Wait. What?! Yes, it is subtle.
Paradoxically, the most dangerous point in our discipleship is when we desire to make progress in our discipleship. To be somehow, “better disciples; to strengthen us to do something.
When do we believe and praise God? When do we stay the course and finish the race?
“I believed, even when I said, ‘I am greatly afflicted’…” (Psalm 116.10)
Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the LORD,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. (Habakkuk 3.17-18)
“So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2.12-13)
Lord, grant me grace — the courage and sheer guts — to become, be, and remain nothing. Don’t make me strong or successful in the race. Grant me the grace to repent of being strong and successful. Grant that this prayer not be for something, namely some “courage and sheer guts,” but for Your courage and sheer guts in me. You be strong and successful in me. You be courageous and gutsy in me. Amen.