Holy Moly what a gorgeous day. I LOVE the Spring. I love the buds and the birds and the longer days! I love the warmth of the sun on my skin and the freshness of the cool air. I even love Lent. Do you know what that is? I am not going to take up a lot of time with a lengthy explanation…but suffice it to say that I did not know about or participate in the discipline of Lent as a Methodist Youth or Young adult. I had never heard of Lent and was shocked to find out that there is a time for many Christians when we are supposed to change things up a bit…or change things up A LOT if that is what we are supposed to do! Some people give up eating chocolate, or drinking alcohol, or watching TV, or Social Media… Or they add something… having a designated prayer time, reading the Bible, doing something for less fortunate folks. It is definitely supposed to be a time for reflection and sacrifice! Reflecting on our blessings…on God’s mercy…on just what the cross signifies.
Our Associate Pastor preached a sermon right after Ash Wednesday challenging people to give up or take on something during this season that is IMPOSSIBLE to do in our own strength. We will understand that God can do anything in us and through us and for us…He can change us… but only if we let Him. Pastor Scott listed things that may well be a life-time struggle…an addiction to: alcohol or drugs or cigarettes; pornography; food… bad habits that have become part of who we are and what we do. Whatever we choose to give up, or take on for Lent, we are challenged to make it too hard for us to do in our own strength or self-discipline. It may seem impossible…and that is why we need to choose it!Because it is impossible for us. But nothing is impossible for God. We aren’t testing God by handing Him these burdens… or this habit…. or this hope. We are trusting God.
And we may hand Him the desire of our heart for Him to work on and work with and transform for us. But we may snatch it back before the work has been finished. We have such a hard time letting others control us…even cleaning up our messes or doing us huge favors is met with resistance. We can do it by ourselves! Mine! It’s mine!
If you know that you need to give God something to make you healed or whole or free or the best that you can possibly be, when you offer it to Him, and He gladly takes it, don’t snatch it back.
But if in your fear you fail, it doesn’t mean you are a failure. God still has His hand out waiting for us to release our hurt and our baggage AND our greatest wishes. He has his hand out and He will keep it out waiting patiently.
My friend Joy shared an image from a book that she is reading this morning. This is what she wrote.
He calls it The Daffodil Principle. He says “When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world. ”
Do you believe that? Joy likes to talk about “Baby Steps”. She goes on to say, “We are not called to change the world in a day so if we have a day of mental rest it is ok. It’s the baby steps in life that count.”
My child-like preschool and Children’s Minister mind goes directly to the game “Mother May I?”. Who wants to be told to take 5 “baby steps”? I Don’t!!! I want to be told to take three “giant steps”, three “zig-zag steps” and one “bunny hop.” I don’t mind a nice steady stroll every now and then…but I prefer to skip and gallop and twirl.
There is a rule in “Mother May I?” that cannot be forgotten. It is the key to success…we cannot EVER win the game if we fail to remember this rule. No matter what task/ steps we are given to perform…no matter how many, how much, how big, how small, how fast or how slow… we must first ask, “Mother May I?” If we fail just once to acknowledge that we have been given something to do and that we are only to do it with permission then we must go back and start over at the beginning. That doesn’t mean that we cannot start again….and that doesn’t mean that we cannot be a winner. But we can never forget Who is giving us our “Marching”…or “baby stepping” or “zigzagging” or Giant-stepping” or “Bunny-hopping” orders!
Let’s not get so excited about what we can do that we forget what we are supposed to do.
One daffodil bulb…or 100…one person or 1000…God knows what we are supposed to be doing. But we are supposed to be DOING. But don’t forget to ask Him, “What would You have me do? Thy will be done.”
We are not even close to perfect. That is why we had to have a Savior. In this season while we contemplate the sacrifice that God made and continues to make daily for us, please consider that He desperately wants for us to trust Him to take care of us. Who would ever know us or what we need better? No one. He knows me better than I know me! He knows what I need better than I know what I need. So I would be wise to ask before I leap… “Father, May I?”
If our question is “can I move forward…closer to you? It doesn’t matter how, just that you tell me to come.” His answer will always ALWAYS be, “Yes, you may.” If we forget and get sent back to the start…we are wiser for the mistake. But we must be wise enough not to make the same mistake again. Fortunately for us though, God doesn’t keep count of our wrongs. He made a Way for us to come to Him.
Pause. “Thank You” for the second chance…and third and fourth and millionth…Let’s take that step…but only after waiting to hear what He wants.