Saturday, March 5, 2016

Lenten Waiting: Refining our Focus

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
-2 Peter 3:9

Lent is about preparing and waiting. As we wait—as patience is being forged in our souls—the Spirit is also at work in our hearts, testing and refining our priorities. Especially during periods of long delay that last some months or years, we slowly let go of the trivial wants and wishes to which we have been clinging, and we refocus our attention on the truly important things in life.

Often we hear from those who have gone through a long illness—or have been told they have a terminal condition—that in the wait they released many superficial things that formerly seemed so important to them: money, fame, possessions, entertainment. The focus of their lives was refined. They now found the true priorities of friendship, kindness, goodness and God.

None of us likes to wait. It means the fulfillment of our wants will be delayed. Sometimes we receive, in due time, that which we anticipated. Other times the process of waiting purges our desires so that we begin to desire something new, far more valuable than the former wishes. God takes us through a refining process. Often the All-Wise-One keeps one door closed—a door we thought we desired, a door we were waiting for—long enough to test us with fire, as it were, and purify our hearts. Then, when we are ready for it, the Lord opens a new door. That new opportunity, we discover, is far more fulfilling than the one we were tenaciously holding onto.

As we continue to wait and prepare for Easter, let us hold fast to God’s faithfulness. Allowing the Lord to take us through a refining process, let us look to our future with hope and expectation!