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I don't wait well. I like for the traffic to flow, for phones to be answered, for doctors appointments to be wait-less, and for my food order to be quickly forthcoming! I tend to like now time not wait time. And yet I find myself with you in 40 days of waiting. Forty days of anticipation is lengthy for those like me. What could God possibly want to say to me that takes 40 days of preparation? Am I THAT messed up?? Or what exactly does He intend to do inside me in these 40 days? Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. (Luke 4:1-2a). There are no specific words about Jesus' activities within all these 40 days so I went Bible searching. I was looking for times that Jesus went away to pray or times where we find Him earnestly seeking, for I believe that IS this Lent journey.
Let's take a look at Luke 9:28:36: [underlined words are my emphasis]
[Jesus] took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.)
While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves and did not tell anyone at that time what they had seen.
This entire short passage screams at me regarding these Lent days. In fact, I believe it offers me a way to live until Easter (and actually beyond).
Here are my bullet points:
•Jesus found alone time to pray
•His depth of prayer changed Him! As we pray, do we sincerely and honestly get so deep into our prayer time that our faces literally change?
•His hope was heaven bound. As we talk with Him are we reminded that our time on earth is passing and that soon our location to a spiritual place will come?
•Peter, James and John became sleepy! In times of prayer do I become sleepy and uninterested when in reality my whole being longs to become fully awake and realize His Glory.
•Peter, James and John decided they should camp out! Do I forget all else and just stay with Him?
•Peter, James and John were afraid. As He speaks to me, am I so afraid that I cannot hear His words? Or am I so afraid of His words that I choose to not hear?
Let's think of ourselves as Peter, James and John. Jesus loved them so much He invited them to join Him on the mountaintop. He wanted them to experience the full measure of who He was. He didn't want them to be scared or feel unworthy or feel condemned....what did He want for them? What does He want for you and me? Why would He lead us into 40 days in the desert or a prayer time on the mountain? Think about it......ponder it for yourself. Give yourself time to think it through.....(I can wait)...
He created us for one purpose - relationship with Him. He wants us to see Him, to experience His love and roll around in it. So he calls us to the desert and to the mountaintop in hopes that we will leave all the world trappings behind and finally recognize Him. In fact, He is dying for us to truly SEE Him.
In my own head I've been comparing this Lent season with the Christmas Season. This is just a small bunny trail so stay with me! Thanksgiving ends and we are thrust into the Christmas season, head first! We anticipate and mostly our children anticipate! Oh, what is under the tree, they squeal! What gifts will we get? Packages are shaken and taped boxes are gently prodded to reveal the contents underneath. It is so very unnerving and exciting for little children. Because they are "dying to see what gifts they will receive."
He dying for us to see too! Everyday of our lives, He's dying for me and you. He's dying for us to know Him, He's dying for us to see His full Glory, He's dying for us to see ourselves only as He sees us. That makes me want to run into the desert and wait and seek Him forever.
We can all walk into the desert and brag that we're there for the difficulty of achievement. But there is more He says....stay a while....40 days...seek and wait. Wait for gifts that are there just for you.
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
Your face, Lord, I will seek.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord. Psalms 27:8,14