Into the Desert

It’s that feeling of not being good enough, not fitting in, or just growing tired and bored of the same routine day after day. “I’m going to see the same people in the same classes, and I’m going to find the same assignments awaiting me when I come home at night,” we often think to ourselves. Oh, the life of a college student.

Do you know the feeling?

What if I told you there is a type of renewing process that you could undergo, a sort of “flushing” of the senses, if you will. Would you be interested in learning more?  What if I told you that, after participating in my challenge for 40 days, your life would be dramatically different? Would you believe me, or would you even dare to find out?

Just imagine: You are alone in the desert for what seems to be an eternity. I’ll allow you your cell phone, which does no good in a remote place with no reception. Therefore this gadget you once relied upon has no use other than, when you are upset or frustrated, you have the option of throwing it. You have no clothes but those on your back, and your one wish is to take a shower, something unheard of in this desert.

You are allowed one book which will be your road map, guide, and best companion for this 40-day challenge: the Bible. Each day of being left in the scorching hot sun you literally cling to the mere hope that it will all be over and that someone will come and save you, something that keeps coming up in your daily reading.

At the end of these 40 days you are struggling to stay alive. You feel as if you have suffered on behalf of every person you have ever wronged in your short 21 years of life. You reflect on this feeling, and you make a mental and spiritual note to never, ever let go of this feeling. You wonder how, for so long, you could have let your life fall this far south, and as you do, you only pray for that savior to come and rescue you from this feeling and from the desert…

My brothers and sisters, Lent is the time that, each year in our spiritual journey, we are called to visit that desert. We are called to abandon all that comforts us and venture out into the unknown land of submission to God, growth in self-knowledge, and exploration of giving until it hurts.

“But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.” -Matthew 6:6

Use the analogy of the desert here. Surrender your entire being to God this Lent. Through prayer, fasting, and giving of our time, talent, and treasure, we will find Him.

“When you call me, and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me and I will change your lot.” -Jeremiah 29:12-14

During this season of Lent, let us open our hearts and remember that we come from dust, and to dust we will return. God wants us to be challenged. He is calling each of us to retreat to our own desert, whatever this may look like; surely it will look different for each of us. He is asking us to search ourselves and see what we are in need of “flushing.” This challenge is called Lent, my friends.

Let us escape the chains of our comfort and truly become the servants the Lord wishes us to be. Let us learn about and remember the seven corporal works of mercy and help our brothers and sisters in need. Let us abstain from meat on Fridays, in solidarity with those who are not blessed with such food. Let us remember that we are sinners, and that through the blood of Jesus Christ, our lives have been saved and our sins are forgiven, giving us the hope of Easter and the resurrection of our Lord.

What if I told you that, after participating in this Lenten journey for 40 days, your life would be dramatically different? Would you believe me?

Do you dare to find out?

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