My forehead is getting a break from the ashes this year since I won't be able to make it to an Ash Wednesday service, but I have to say that I'm really ready for Lent this year. Do you ever feel like you're ready for a pause? I know I am--a chance to refocus and recharge before Easter morning. I'm giving up Facebook again this year and I'm ready for it. It will be hard during the middle-of-the-night feedings when I'm mindlessly thumbing through apps on my phone, but I know the break will be a good one--to focus on my life here!
This Lent is going to be a little different for me. I fully intended on memorizing a passage of Scripture, since that is the Lenten discipline I always choose to practice. I've mentioned before how much the Bible Study in which I am participating, Walking With God In the Desert, has meant to me and how this time in my life feels, at times, very much like a desert. I figured the passage I should memorize would somehow come out of the study. Monday had been a particularly hard day and I was really looking forward to the study on Tuesday.
I settled in my seat to watch the video for our study. I had Lydia asleep in one arm and a cup of coffee in my other hand, a very obvious example of my life right now. This particular video discussed paths in the desert--how the word "path" is used several times in Scripture and what the actual desert paths looked like--tiny trails amongst jagged rocks of all sizes. At times the trails were not even discernible because of the rocks. The guide gestured to the rocks, explaining what a tangible example they were of the trials we face. The smaller softball sized stones are like our day-to-day trials--the kids, a fight with our spouse, etc. The bigger stones might represent unemployment or a severed relationship. And the boulders, the huge, towering stones, might represent something life-altering, like the death of a loved one. I saw those small stones and could totally relate--I imagine myself tripping over those small stones all day sometimes, trying to juggle everything that requires my attention.
The guide paused from discussing the rocks to mention the importance of honey to the Israelites, how sweet it tasted and what a tangible example of God's goodness it was.
He then referenced Psalm 81, which discusses the Israelites' struggle as God led them through the desert, a time when, even though they felt lost, God knew their every step. He then quoted verse 16: "But I would feed you with the finest wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you."
Honey from the rock.
God's goodness within the trial.
We hear all the time about the lessons God teaches us in our troubles. But the tangible, stark example of a rock and honey hit me in a totally new way. Probably because the idea of it seems so absurd--honey from a rock?
Sounds a little impossible.
And I realized that the discipline I need to practice this Lent was not memorization, but meditation. To claim this verse and believe it when I stumble over the small stones. Because even though I know that God has ordained these days for me and that I can trust Him, I do not always practice what I know. All it takes is one bad day for my attitude to plummet. Even after several good days, I so easily feel like giving up when I suddenly trip over a stone, whether that stone is an inconsolable baby, a burnt meal, or a less-than-compliant toddler. And on the days when it's stone after stone after stone, it's even worse. I have no desire to see God's goodness. I'm just ticked off.
I need this Lenten time. I want to look back on these days and see what God was teaching me--these days when I feel like I'm wandering, but I know the path is laid out.
I want to taste the honey from the rocks.
Have a lovely day.