Pastor’s Perspective – Lent 2022

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I will forever remember Lent 2022. As I have prayed, searched, listened and reflected I have realized I’m in a “wilderness” season. I doubt that I’m alone. Life has changed drastically since March 2020. As we continue to cope with the fluctuating stages of the pandemic, as we grieve the lives lost, as we contemplate the decisions our denomination is being asked to make and the changes our decisions will require, as we watch the war in Ukraine in real time on our media devices—life feels crazy. In addition, we all have personal and family situations that we are coping with too. We wonder, what’s going to happen? How will this all end? What will happen to our denomination? Will there
be a third World War? Will my personal or family situation be resolved positively? How did we get here? When answers don’t come, we feel like we’re in the wilderness, asking how do we get out?

When Jesus was in the wilderness (Luke 4: 1-13) he turned to God and God’s Word. In the wilderness we may be tempted to turn inward and try to “fix” things ourselves. We may put more effort into human endeavors and slack off the practice of making time every day for God and God’s Word. We tell ourselves, we’re strong Christians, it won’t hurt. Guess what, it does! We become weary and numb; incredibly disillusioned, lost, confused, and downright panicked and we’re still in the wilderness.

I remember hearing a wonderful Bible teacher say that when you go through a season of spiritual wilderness,
you need to lean into it, not run from it. That is true. The only place running away or avoiding will get you is even more lost and deeper into that uncomfortable wilderness. Ignoring the situation by staying busy or doing something else will get you absolutely nowhere and it certainly won’t fix things. Believe me! What does everyone say you should do when you get lost? You should turn around and go back the way you came. Don’t keep walking in the same wrong direction. Turn back. In a spiritual wilderness, you need to turn back to God. Now, He may not bring you out of the wilderness right away, in fact, He may allow you to take a little longer getting out, but rest assured, He’ll be with you every step of the way.

Sometimes when we ask God to take us out of the wilderness—God gives us a map and a compass, and step by step,
with God by our side we find our way out. It takes time and effort, we begin again to spend time daily in God’s Word, we pray with confidence, we make regular time for devotionals, we make gathering with others in worship a priority—even though it may feel uncomfortable at first.

I believe God uses seasons in the wilderness to open our eyes. They convict us and push us to do better and more importantly, to keep growing in our spiritual lives. We must keep growing and learning. Sometimes we look back at a wilderness season and see that the wilderness that was uncomfortable and scary ended up being a lifesaver. Jesus goes into battle for us and with us in the wilderness. I am so thankful, grateful, and blessed to have a Savior like him.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him.

Romans 8:28

When you find yourself in a hard season, lean into it and lean into God. Do not turn from Him, rather, chase after Him like your life depends on it—because it does.