A year can hold a lot of healing. Even a year like 2020. In one span of changing seasons broken walls can be repaired, ancient ruins rebuilt, foundations restored. Open, oozing wounds can resolve into scars. Lies can be uprooted by truth. Hard, but freeing, truth.
Even so, the wind can shift unexpectedly, bringing with it whispers of those almost forgotten lies. And how effortlessly they seem to settle back into their familiar nooks and crannies in my soul. What happened? Did God lift His sheltering hand? Because all that felt so sure and secure is beginning to feel weak and vulnerable again. How can freedom and joy and peace, so hard won, vanish like rising steam? Is my hold on new life really that fragile?
When I actually take a look at the calendar, I know the fluctuating gusts are not coincidental. It’s Ash Wednesday — the day for remembering I am made of dirt, that I am lifeless and useless without the breath of God in me. And so begins Lent 2021, with an invitation to retreat to a windswept wilderness, to stay low and stick close to my warring and victorious Saviour. It’s not my newness of life or victory in Christ that is fragile. I am!
Flashbacks of battling the darkness keep me from ever setting aside my armour of light. The aftertaste of bygone struggles ensures that I always have something to trust to God’s sovereign hands. And when I remember all that Jesus willingly endured for the sake of future joy, it gives me a right here, right now kind of joy in all that I am called to bear. Perhaps it’s not so bad to begin this Lenten journey in the dust. In fact, maybe it’s a gift to keep me desperate and dependent, to keep my eyes fixed on the One these rising winds obey as I wait in faith for the day that He will finally and forever command them to be still.