Lent is an opportunity to lean in, to abandon yourself to intimacy with a living God, and to taste the refreshing water of God’s love and grace. When Jesus went into the desert for forty days he learnt what it meant to lean into his Father and remind himself of God’s promises. It was in that dry, hot, barren place that the enemy attacked him when he was physically most vulnerable.
in a slightly different way we as humans all have “desert” areas, places that are dry and harsh, places where we choose to shut God out of. Sometimes we can do many things to cover our own arid lands. We distract ourselves with purchasing things, chase achievements, hide in a fictional tale, mask our feelings with comfort eating, find a media fast fix or drink away our sorrow with a latte or beer! All these things are not wrong in themselves, but they can become like a plaster on a wound, preventing the air of God’s Spirit from circulating, they can stop the rain of God’s love touching us, or just cover the hurt so well that others do not realize our pain.
Sometimes it is important to strip these things back a little and see what lies underneath. Leaning into God is an active thing. It requires trust that a strong arm will hold you, courage that you won’t be rejected, it requires forgiveness when you have been hurt and hope to push through disappointments and engage with life again. God really cares about the desert areas of our lives! His heart breaks for the lost possibility of softness and healing, the intense pain of midday sun moments, and the sadness of the barren land holding no new nurture or growth. The good news is this – leaning into God is not as complex as it may seem. In the rivers of grace opened by Jesus’s death, small things can create huge restoration! It’s true – so just choosing once to leave the chocolate bar in the cupboard and remain before God can bring light into a dark place of disillusionment. This light is not only an opening for confession, it can become a peephole for deep renewal.
Leaning into God this Lent can also be an active choice for something. Deciding on a Saturday afternoon to go for a walk out onto the hills instead of the browsing the usual shops could be the beginning of a new wave of hope that breaks across the desolation of grief, or the rejection of a broken relationship, or a complex health issue. Seize the moments you have in Lent to lean in. Give everything to God, hold nothing back. And in those times, read the word of God, engage with the beauty of the earth, listen to inspiring music, phone a trusted friend, stop to pray, or just curl up and rest! Push away the props. Allow the light of Christ to illuminate your path, the rain of God’s spirit to soften your way, and you will discover new seeds of hope have taken root in your life.
I wrote a short prayer this month which carries these thoughts to God. You may like to pray it now as you lean into Him during this time:
I Will Turn
Lord, I will turn,
Turn my face towards you.
I will lay before you the desert areas I hide
And turn to soak in your refreshing words of life.
I will cast aside the barren, selfish pursuits
And turn to rest in the tranquil warmth of your love.
I will draw back from the harsh pull of media
And turn to bathe in the gentle power of your Spirit.
Lord, today I turn my face towards you.
I will turn
To soak in your words of life,
To rest in the warmth of your love,
And to bathe in the power of your Spirit.
Here is a short film meditation we have created featuring the words of this prayer: –
It’s possible to download this film in HD for a small sum by visiting this page.