It only seems like yesterday when I was preparing for the season of Advent. Now, it is nearly Lent – another season of preparation and reflection. Both are times when it is good to set aside time to be with God and to slow down our pace of life down in order to make that time available.
I suspect that this might be slightly easier at this time of year than just before Christmas!
At the beginning of Lent, we remember how Jesus, following God’s wonderful affirmation at his baptism, withdrew to the wilderness. All distractions were put aside as Jesus, weak with hunger and, at his weakest point tempted to forsake his humanity, drew his strength from God.
Our weakness is something God can work with. Last Saturday, in Messy Church, the young people learned about Gideon who was chosen to lead his people. He was a farmer and not cut out for military-style leadership. But he trusted God even when God told him to reduce his army to a fraction of the enemy army. God was faithful.
St Paul was troubled by a particular weakness which he called his “thorn in the flesh”. We are not sure exactly what that was but it clearly concerned him so much that he asked God to remove it. On that occasion the answer to his prayer was unexpected. God did not remove it but instead told Paul ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ This taught Paul to trust God in all things because he knew that nothing could separate him from God’s love.
So, perhaps Lent is a time to be honest with ourselves. To acknowledge our weaknesses, to ask God's help in righting the ways we go wrong in our lives but also accepting that there are crosses to bear. We may not feel we have the physical, emotional or mental strength to be a disciple of Christ, but God is faithful and his strength will sustain us in our weakness.
I hope this season of Lent is a blessed one for you all.