1: In Hardship

valentines day 106Our responses and reactions to the things that happen around us reveal the depth of our character and nature. They are opportunities, also, to show the character and love of God. This Lenten Season I am practicing awareness by looking for deep truth in everyday things. The first day of Lent revealed the mighty, gracious, loving character of God.

I sat across the table from HW. This beauty of a woman has shown grace and support to me even through disconnected schedules and the passing of too much time between chats. We talked new jobs and projects, team dynamics and responsibility, control-freak tendencies and letting go. When the conversation turned I would be hit with the realization that in the deepest, most painful moments of our lives our actions and decisions can reveal the loving, strong character of God.

Too many times breaking relationships drag people down. People tear each other apart face to face and to others. Doubts surface, insecurity is revealed, and what is rightfully painful also becomes messy and scarring. But, HW revealed to me a story that did not cast a shadow over the goodness of God. It revealed two people with motives to walk rightly making extremely tough and painful decisions, all the while maintaining the beauty and splendor of honor. I was reminded through her telling of how people can walk through sorrow and choose perseverance, character and hope. This couple’s response to the end of their relationship maintained the Holiness of God. Their response revealed a deep character in themselves that was not formed in the months of their dating, but was formed as they took their lives and journey’s seriously before they ever met. It was the most inspiring, humbling, praise-worthy break-up story I have ever heard.

It happened to be Valentine’s Day and while we both sat there surrounded by couples and reserved tables, I learned more deeply that the God I believe in is a God of love. Not cheesy, paper card and chocolate love, but deep, comforting love that happens in times of sorrow and sadness.

Lent marks the 40 days that Christ was in the wilderness and the 40 years the Israelites were in the desert. They are times of deep trouble and temptation. The Bible says that Christ was a “Man of sorrow, acquainted with grief.” This season I long to see His face and character in our days. Our days of sorrow and grief, our days of gladness, our moments of realization, in the character of new friends and old friends. HW revealed to me and reminded me of the good of Christ in our hardest moments. He chose to walk through the wilderness, to take the journey to the cross; we can trust in him to be with us in hardship.

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