“You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew, rebuild the foundations from out of your past.” Isaiah 58:11 (The Message Bible)
As a child, I dreaded the Season of Lent (which begins this Wednesday). It had nothing to do with giving up something like candy as a so-called sacrifice. For me, the high of Christmas went over a cliff on Ash Wednesday, and a gray cloud followed me for six weeks in the somber valley of the upcoming death of Jesus. Instead of focusing on the death of that precious baby Jesus, I wondered, Why can’t we ride the high of Jesus’ birth for a little longer?
One year during Lent, my father’s heart beat out of control and the doctor kept him in the hospital to monitor his condition. I remember early one Sunday morning when Uncle Howard came to our house, got my brothers and me out of bed, and drove us to the hospital to tell our dad goodbye. He survived this incident, but in the next few years, there were many more hospitalizations for his heart condition. I can still picture the mid-week Lenten service in which I sat by my mother, silently weeping and wondering, Will we be experiencing a bad sort of a Good Friday?
My father’s heart must have been stronger than the pull of death, as he lived to be ninety-one years old! As an adult, the childhood memory of those long six weeks before Easter has slowly been removed and replaced with a sense of anticipation, such as in the Season of Advent. The season passes quickly as I walk with Jesus through the last weeks and days of his earthly ministry. Once again, I prepare my heart to experience the resurrection of my Lord—as if it were the first Easter morning!
Thank you, Lord, for giving me memories of my past to build my future with you. Amen.