“Today I have set before you life and prosperity, death and doom.” After our first full day of Lent having been “ashed” or marked and ready to go from yesterday, it is as if Moses himself, the great Lawgiver, has returned from down the mountain to give us a sad welcome to the desert experience of ours. Amazingly, these powerfully scripturally inspired words are as poignant and solemn for the beginning of these forty days as they are for the rest of our lives as well.
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” The Great Lawgiver of the New Testament, Jesus Christ Himself, is now also approached with Lenten wisdom. Here we are served yet another crucial part of a successful Lenten spiritual journey: humility and honesty. Many have to understand that we are only as sick as our secrets, which basically means that a secret kept in the dark usually grows and festers and ultimately destroys a person. The good news is that once it is exposed to light and released, all its ugly power is gone. This is precisely what is intimately meant by picking up our crosses and following the Lord Jesus with all our might and with as much integrity we can muster. Some people can be so proud and refuse to admit that some areas in their life need to be clean. It’s this lack of self-knowledge, growing negativity, and self-loathing that keeps them sick and trapped in their sinful behavior. There is hope. Always.
There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes bravery involves laying down your life for something bigger than yourself, or for someone else. Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known, or everyone you have ever loved, for the sake of something greater.
But sometimes it doesn’t.
Sometimes it is nothing more than gritting your teeth through pain, and the work of every day, the slow walk toward a better life. – Veronica Roth