Lent & Desire

Lent & Desire

Debbie Smith   •   March 22, 2017

“For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.”
Psalm 107:9

“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Mark 10:47

These words resonated with me as I entered Lent this year. The weight of life’s relentless demands and the reality of my limited capacity to respond to all of them left me feeling tired and inadequate. I felt like I was failing on multiple fronts.

Like Bartimaeus crying out from the side of the road, I found myself crying out for relief as I entered the sanctuary for Ash Wednesday service.

The opening words brought tears to my eyes – “The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” (Psalm 103:8)

No lecture about my ongoing struggle with perfectionism. No condemnation for all the ways I was failing to practice what I preach. No pointing finger or shaking head or rolling of the eyes. Just a gentle invitation…

“Come all ye who are heavy burdened. Come all ye who are in pain.” (Jonas Peterson, Hymns from Nineveh © 2011)

As we sang the words of this song, my heart leapt within me. Not only did I want to “come,” I wanted to stay close to this merciful Presence and allow his compassion and love to wash over my weary soul. I wanted to stop trying to be more than a weak, finite creature that is dependent on him for every breath and every good thing. I wanted to lay down my striving and rest for a while.

This is the invitation of Lent. Drop whatever is in your hands that you’re grasping onto and trusting in for life. Let go of the ways you distract or numb yourself from life’s crushing blows and painful realities. Slow down and allow yourself to feel how thirsty you are for the cool waters of grace and compassion.

Come. Let go. Stay.