It seems like most years, the season of Lent comes and goes pretty uneventfully. The weeks in between Ash Wednesday and Easter pass by normally, with routine work schedules, pleas for warmer weather and maybe revamped mantle decor.
In many ways, the same has been true for this year. But, in a way, not.
Still taking advantage of my non-work days, I’ve settled into a morning rhythm. After feeding the dogs, I make coffee (or heat it up from the previous morning), and I sit in the middle of the couch. It’s still dark, and I’m still tired, so I just sit. Directly in front of me, the window points to the sky that begins to lighten in ribbons, folding into vivid colors before the sun pops over the fence and nearly blinds me.
In this time, I may read a little. But in the last week I’ve let myself wonder. And it’s nice, but it also stirs me up.
My whole life I’ve heard that Jesus died for my sins and the sins of everyone. That this is a gift, not earned. I’ve read again and again that Jesus’ death and resurrection paved the way for our salvation and restored us to God. That the God I follow stripped Himself of dignity to get us back.
For a long time, I heard and recited the phrases, but I didn’t really consider them. I didn’t let them roll around in my head to stir up questions because the questions seemed so big.
But this Lent, I find I’m more eager to be pushed toward understanding, toward the why of the gospel. Why death? Why an empty tomb? Why us now?
My earthly brain is not capable of fully comprehending the death and resurrection a Savior. That is why we’re called to faith.
But here’s what’s encouraging to me: even biblical authors didn’t just recite the phrases. After Jesus’ death, the people wanted explanation; they craved understanding.
The writer of Hebrews, for example, frames up the why of the gospel in various ways to give new followers an anchor point of understanding…something that resonated and reminded them, “Oh yes, that’s why we needed Jesus,” (See Hebrews 8-10).
I guess I’m like them. I want to talk about it and wrestle with it and have somebody spell it out for me so plainly that I feel its weight. And this isn’t just a Lent thing; for the believer, it’s a forever long process that doesn’t stop at Easter.
Push me toward understanding.
That’s my prayer these days.