Welcome to the Sunday Devotion. Let’s come together on this 3rd Sunday of Lent and evaluate our travels along the Lenten path thus far. Let’s all take a deep breath and exhale slowly. Do it again. Bow your head forward and stretch, feeling the pull in your neck. Then lift your chin high and throw your shoulders back as far as you can. I’m stretching out multiple aches and pains. How about you?
I’m not where I expected to be at this point along this Lenten path. I am not even ½ way through Lent and I find myself weary and I am seeking a chair and an ottoman upon which to rest my feet. My back aches and my feet are in pain. And I am thirsty. Jesus – how did you do it?
Jesus walked the wilderness for 40 days. He was thirsty, but drank only of God’s spirit. He was hungry, but denied himself the bread that God could have provided if he’d only asked. In his dedication to seeking a close relationship with God, he committed time to seeking God, speaking to God, listening to God. Why do I not have the same unflinching focus?
I am in the wilderness, too. My wilderness. And I find myself wandering aimlessly, at times. I get distracted and lose sight of my destination which is time with God. The sink full of dishes steals my attention. As I dry the frying pan and start to put it away, I see that the pan drawer has a few pans that are sitting askew, making the freshly washed pan jam into the drawer frame. I need to rearrange those pans into more efficient stacks. Then I remember the load of wash that needs to go into the dryer. While I’m in the basement, I realize that the meat in the freezer needs to be taken out and defrosted for tomorrow’s dinner. Where is that recipe? Since I’m cooking, I should use those ripe bananas and make a loaf of banana bread. Does your day dissolve like this? Different circumstances, but a similar pattern of distraction?
I go back to my chair and put my feet on the ottoman. I draw in a deep breath. “God – be close. Put your hands upon my head and pull the busy thoughts from my mind.” I take in another deep breath, close my eyes and feel God’s presence in me – in the very air I breathe.
Take your moment. Push aside the distractions and breathe deeply. God promises to be near. He pardons our shortcomings. In Isaiah 55: 9-12 we hear God’s words.
“Just as rain and snow descend from the skies
and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth,
Doing their work of making things grow and blossom,
producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry,
So will the words that come out of my mouth
not come back empty-handed.
They’ll do the work I sent them to do,
they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.”
God pardons our weaknesses and continues his promises for us, the imperfect.
Dear God, Our Rock and Our Lifeline. Help us to give you our minutes when our hours are consumed elsewhere. Cleanse our minds and unburden our hearts. Help us focus on You that as we seek, we listen. As we look, we focus. And as we breathe, we feel. May our wilderness never be without You. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Author: Bonnie Barber
Various authors throughout the Chesapeake Bay Mission Center and beyond provide these thought-provoking weekly devotions.