It is the day after Easter Sunday. And my first experience of observing Lent has now passed.
Did I have an experience of God that wowed my mind? No.
Was I able to effectively let go of my daily ill discipline that I had set out to fast? Yes, but with lapses.
The most satisfying experience over the six weeks was reading the complete Bible. It was a massive task and one I often questioned why I was doing it. Most days I was just skimming through the Word just to keep up with the demanding schedule.
I don’t feel the same sense of euphoria that Margaret, who responded to God’s nudge to encourage thousands of people from around the world to take up this challenge (you can read about Margaret’s cartwheeling reflections here)
Frankly, I’m exhausted and a part of me wonders if I now need a Bible-reading sabbatical. However, besides taking me through many parts of the Bible I’d never delved into, the study confirmed in my mind a number of key truths.
God is madly in love with us!
Stop to read that again.
Throughout the harshness of the Old Testament all I could think about was how much God wanted the Israelites to be faithful, to behave, and worship Him as their loving creator.
God will do anything to help us understand how much He loves us.
Even let His Son, Jesus, become human, and die. This is why we celebrate Easter.
So we can live, so we can enjoy fellowship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This enables us to fully realise the person He originally made us.
Often I’ve thought I’ll consider myself a more mature Christian if I’m enjoying richer experiences of Christ through the Holy Spirit. That might be through visions or dreams or discerning what’s taking place in someone’s life. Certainly they may come with maturity. But that shouldn’t be my goal.
No, what grabbed my heart so vigorously these past six weeks in reading the complete Bible was being able to recognise that our lives revolve around Jesus. Jesus underpins all 66 books from start to finish.
It’s all about Him!
As Paul said nothing else matters but “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection,” (Philippians 3:10a NKJV)
I’m with Paul.
Sure I’m wrecked from reading the Bible but I feel like my journey has only just begun. I’m thirsting for more; in particular I’d love to venture deeper into some of the Minor Prophets like Hosea whilst tackling Paul’s epistles.
I thought I’d end with the first two verses of Ephesians, The Message version revealing more to me than others I’d read. In some way it sums up my take on my Lenten experience whilst also being a manifesto for life:
“Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.” (Eph 5:1-2 The Message)
Has God grabbed your heart in some way in these past few weeks? Do you feel your eyes have been opened or something simply reconfirmed in recent times? I’d love to read about it.