Into the Wilderness to Meet God

Cassie Schutzer
Wednesday, February 21, 2024

How is your Lent going?

I'm willing to bet that many of us have realized that our Lenten practices may not be holding up, even after just a week into Lent.

 And that's okay.

I remember growing up, I would decide on the hardest penance I could think of for Lent. If I was able to make it all the way through the 40 days without eating chocolate or watching TV, it was a "good" Lent. If I broke — even just a few days shy of Easter — it was an unsuccessful one. Lent was about suffering and punishment.

As I've gotten older, I realize that the rigidity of my childhood Lenten practices (and even into young adulthood) missed the point of the season. This is a time of penitence and sacrifice, yes. But above all, it's a time of closeness with the Lord.

Lent is about encounter. It’s about going out into the wilderness to meet the Lord. It’s about rejecting those things that get in the way of our relationship with Him and moving closer to His heart. It’s a time of healing.

Is it a good idea to give things up? Yes!

But we always ask ourselves: Why? To what end? Is the point of giving something up to make our lives more difficult for a season? Or to bring us pride when we are successful?

Or are we removing those obstacles that prevent us from seeing Jesus clearly? Getting rid of those things that move Him out of the center of our hearts?

So if you’ve broken your practice, begin again. Tomorrow is a new day.

If you need to reevaluate your prayer, fasting, or almsgiving to enter into the spirit of the season more authentically, do it. Tomorrow is a new day.

Move closer to the Lord’s heart this Lent. Be with Him in the deserted place. Remove the things that put distance between you and Him. Ask for healing. Ask for help. Pray for the guidance of the Spirit. But always remember: tomorrow is a new day, and the Lord will continue calling you back to Himself. 

My prayer for all of us is that we are wholehearted and intentional in our Lenten practices so that we will hunger for the food that truly fills: Jesus Christ, Himself.