Monday, March 7, 2011

Preparing for Ash Wednesday

A couple of years ago, I wrote a Lenten devotion about trying to lean on the everlasting arms of my Savior—as I dealt with life and He headed to the cross. For me.
Ash Wednesday is this week and we begin a 40 day walk to Easter morning. As I try to prepare my heart for remembering the perfect gift my Holy Father gave me at Easter, my mind flits back and forth from one worry to another, I interrupt my own prayers to peek at my “to-do” list, and sigh as my eyes stare out the window to a brown, dead landscape.
I really study and try and learn my lessons.... but *sigh* L I am quick to forget. Life and problems continue to assail me and I fall—yet again—into unchartered waters. Instead of keeping my eyes on the Rock that is higher than I, I fall and must go back… and remember… and get my heart and spirit still… and give thanks.

Ponder with me that Lenten morning when I cried out to God. . . .

Traffic and God's Arms

The day ahead of me was filled to overflowing so I rose early but struggled with prayer lists grown too long, miscellaneous daily stuff entangled among drought and winds, and ugly, stinging words—both given and received. Ready to head out for appointments, I stopped long enough to cry out to God, “How do I know? How can I be sure? My walk is confusing. Where do I turn, what do I do?”
Neither thunder nor lightening answered so I dried my tears and scurried out to tie up the loose ends of yet another hectic day.
Later, I impatiently tapped the steering wheel as I waited for an interminable red light to give me permission to drive forward. Trapped in my immovable vehicle, I watched two men walking down major, busy street in front of me. They moved properly against traffic oblivious to dust coating their white walking shorts.
The sighted man walked next to the curb, his right arm bent so that the other could hold on. The blind man walked in step beside his companion but on the outside and next to the dangerous lane where trucks, cars, and motorcycles zipped, rushed, and sped by.
I felt God whisper, “Watch and learn.”
The two men walked heel-toe-heel-toe oblivious to tires spewing rocks, dirt, and debris across the hot pavement, trucks turning left, mini-vans gunning engines and roaring around slower, sedate Town Cars.
Sharply sucking in my breath, I watched. The blind man moved his white-tipped stick back and forth as he walked—heel-toe-heel-toe. The other man was taller and looked around, pulled his arm closer—heel-toe-heel-toe—checking, pulling in, looking, listening, moving, letting out—heel-toe-heel-toe.
My light changed to green. Oblivious to God’s Hand moving among us, cars in front of me moved ahead, turned left, braked, turned right, slowed, and accelerated while voices from my radio sang…….      
          What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
          Leaning on the everlasting arms?
          I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
          Leaning on the everlasting arms. (*)

Please, sweet friends, pause with me to lean on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Walking through Lent—and through life—without Jesus is treacherous.
Walking together to the Cross is Holy,

The eternal God is your refuge,
      and his everlasting arms are under you.
   He drives out the enemy before you;
      he cries out, ‘Destroy them!’
Deuteronomy 33:27 (New Living Translation)
Because He Died, I live . . .

(*) Text by: Elisha A. Hoffman, pub.1887 / Music: by Anthony J. Showalter, pub.1887