Third Thursday of Lent
“Thus says the LORD...Walk in all the ways that I command you, so that you may prosper.”
Sometimes, when I hear all the seemingly stern and sorrowful language of suffering over lent, I forget that in this season, our suffering is not a punishment—it is a reforming of our lives around the Good that brings us the deepest joy.
This lent, try not to think of your sacrifices as things that detract from your life, but things that fill you with a deeper life. If you do this, and I’m beginning to really see it too—you won’t be fooling yourself, there really is deeper life than you can imagine in doing so! When the Lord commands us to do these kinds of things, it’s as He says through Jeremiah: so that we may prosper. Take the time to wonder why Jesus went through 40 days in the desert. I hardly think it was because he wanted to go hungry and thirsty and boast about it. It’s more likely, I think, that he went through it to teach us something that is not obvious, something that could only be taught by extreme measures. I think that lesson is this: that suffering produces a window. Through this window, we can see the situations and people in our lives better—as the blessings from God that they truly are.
Try this if you don’t believe me: next time you’re walking to class with your headphones in, take them out, especially if you want to keep them in. Look around and smell the crisp air, look at the sky, feel how healthy you are, look at the people passing by who have joys and sorrows of their own that you will never know about. Enjoy all the little blessings you might have missed, and really try to see them. When we do something (or stop doing something) with the intention of letting God work through it, we grow better at doing His will and we become more joyful because of it. That’s what lent is all about.