I, like most people, appreciate a good comeback.
There are different kinds of comebacks: There is the “sports comeback” and we all saw that more than once this past football season with our Seattle Seahawks! There is the “joke comeback.” I grew up with a very quick-witted friend that had a pithy comeback for everything. He and his sharp tongue have been a source of some very good laughs down through the years but also some hurt feelings as the rapid-fire-one-liners often hit a little below the belt and too close to home. Then there is my personal favorite: the “personal comeback.” This is when a person was good at something but somewhere along the line lost the “spark” that made them who they were and it appears as though they are gone…then all of the sudden…Bam! They are back and better than ever!
As we celebrate the Lenten season, it is often a time to reflect on who we are and on what it is that has made us who we are. It is a time to consider who we are in relation to God primarily, but also how we view ourselves and who we are in relation to other people. It’s also a time to examine how we treat and interact with people, the relationships we have and our attachments to the things of this world; weighing our priorities and being honest about what is important.
Those who observe the ordinance and practice of Lent often give up something they enjoy or that gives them pleasure to remind themselves of what is important. It may be to focus more directly on their relationship with God or to reconnect with family by going without the TV or Internet, for example, for a period of time each day. Whatever your reason for observing Lent, it is primarily meant to be a time of preparation. That is, preparing our hearts to understand the truth about God’s love for us.
One of our Biblical texts this first week of Lent is from the prophet Joel in the Old Testament. Part of it reads;
Joel 2:12 Yet even now, says the LORD, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the LORD, your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing.
We are reminded from this passage the comeback that God loves the most is when we return our hearts to him. “Returning to Him with all our hearts” and “rending our hearts not our clothing” refers to us not just showing outwardly we are observing Lent but to truly observe it with our hearts; to soften our hearts toward God and prepare our hearts to hear the truth about God’s love during this season.
The truth is “…He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love…” and He is calling us back with the words “…return to me with all your heart.” So, during Lent this year, no matter how you or I choose to observe it, let’s remember it is an opportunity to open our hearts to the love of God. It is that love that has the power to change us – and not only us, but it can change how we relate to others.
So, if you hoping for a change in your circumstances, relationships or even your own attitudes, join with us this Lenten season – it is a great time for a “personal comeback!”