Hi Cove Church, I'd love to share with you today something that came out of my Lectio Divina journal time.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been really enjoying my time in this journal. Just this week, I was going through the reading for James 5, and as I was going through the movements of Lectio Divina, verse eight jumped out at me, which says, “You also be patient, establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” I thought, “Ok, Lord, what do you want me to do with this?” As I began to chew on that one little verse, the Lord started to bring things out that spoke to me. Not only about an everyday sort of life principle, but something that He was trying to show me through seeking Him this Lent and what it’s like to follow Jesus. That when we’re patient, when we wait for the things that are worth waiting for, when we say no to things that aren’t where we’re supposed to put our hope, that our heart is established in some way. It begins to take root and it begins to grow into something that it was meant to be. And this can prepare us for the kingdom come.
I began to think about my relationship with my wife. I’m so grateful to be married to Stephanie, but that was a process for me in my life. I got married when I was 30. I waited 30 years before I was married to Stephanie and I could have settled for other things along the way. But those weren’t the right things for me. She was. And after waiting for 30 years, I am so grateful to have waited that amount of time and not settled for anyone or anything less, because Stephanie has been the greatest gift to me.
All of you may have your own examples of things that didn’t come right away, but after you waited, you are glad that you have that. It’s somehow a piece of what makes you stronger and is something to be proud of. I’m proud to be married to Stephanie. Maybe your career, skills that you've honed over time, it could be your family, your kids. Those things take years and years to cultivate and in the end, it’s well worth it.
That’s what our relationship with God is like. It takes some waiting, it takes patience, and it takes a level of struggle even at times. But it’s establishing us and readying us for the kingdom, and this is what we’re doing when we step into Lent. Even if it’s something as little as “I’m not going to eat the way I ate last week. I’m going to eat in a new way. I’m going to eat less, I’m going to eat better.” Not just because it’s healthy, but because it’s spiritually healthy. It's a way of training ourselves to say “no” to something that is less so that we can say “yes” to something that is better and be able to set our sights on something that is higher. Something higher than food. That’s fasting.
What about our time with prayer and giving our time over to the Lord? Whether that’s praying for others or praying for your own spiritual life, or seeking the Lord in a prayerful time of Lectio Divina. However those times look for you this Lent, what you’re doing is you’re saying, “I may be pressured to move on with my day and not stop and take this time, but I’m going to stop, I’m going to be patient, I’m going to slow down and I’m going to wait on God because I know that this is investing into something that has eternal value.” This is what we do during Lent. It’s something we do throughout our whole Christian lives, but Lent is a time to really take the spotlight and shine it on that and go for it in a new way. That’s one of the reasons that Lent is probably my favorite time of year. It really matters and it has a part to play in showing how we can do this principle in James 5:8, which is being patient. Waiting on God. Having that patience and that hope in something better. Establishing our hearts in Him so that we can be ready for the coming of the Lord.
I want to be somebody who’s ready, whose heart is established when I find myself before my King. I want to be someone who, on that glorious day, when the Lord returns and I find myself before Him, that like my wedding day, I can say, “I’m glad I was patient and I’m glad that my heart was established in You and for You.”