I received an email recently with this graphic and I was immediately smitten. The colors, the movement, the wording all drew me in and freed me from the sense of gloom I almost always feel at the thought of Lent.
Let God work wonders! Let God do all the work! Sounds like a good plan to me; except if God is working wonders, how am I going to feel in control? When do I get to feel self-righteous about giving up something for Lent? When do I get to feel like my personal Lenten practice is so important that I can push the legitimate needs of another off until it’s convenient? Will I be able to avoid the heartrending, difficult work of honest self-examination and change?
There is so much in my life that is beyond my control, in my family, at work and in the world at large that giving any more perceived control is difficult. Choosing to turn toward or away from the love God is always offering is one of the few areas I can control. I keep trying to faithfully follow and choose His love; but easily distracted I wander away from the love He offers. Sometimes I’m able to get back quickly; however, I admit that sometimes I wander so far afield that I’m lost for a long time. Those are the times my faith is shaken and coming back seems almost impossible. Mercifully, He’s always patiently waiting no matter how far or long I wander.
God works wonders all the time. Sometimes they’re easy to see, sometimes it takes the wisdom born of time and sometimes it’s not for us to see at all. Imagine how many more wonders you and I might see or feel if we tried to let go of the control we try to have on God. Imagine how many wonders God could work if we focused on the ways He’s trying to work with and through us instead of on ourselves. God’s love is His to give, which He does without reservation or limit. We’re so busy trying to limit Him by choosing to turn away, or by deciding we’re unlovable or by judging one another we miss the opportunities He gifts us with to grow in love for Him and each other.
This Lent I’m going to actively attempt to seek the wonders God has set out for me. I’m going to strive to be open to the opportunities He’s offering me to in some small way help work wonders. Does that sound presumptuous? Me, helping to work wonders? Perhaps it is, but I’m hoping that by giving up trying to control how much of God’s love I’m going to thwart will open up the possibility of helping to build His kingdom. I want to step out of His way and let Him work wonders.