Lenten Reflection: Letting God into the darker corners of my heart

Sometimes slowing down means giving myself space to hurt. In silencing the noise, I give God the opportunity to bring my attention to the areas in my life where I am broken, where I need redemption and healing. Sunday and Monday were less about levity and joy, but about sitting with God in the areas where I struggle. I felt like a tightly compressed spring, very uncomfortable and acutely aware of a building sense of pressure. This experience, in combination with Richard’s sermon about Jesus Christ as the bread of life, revealed something to me. I am not really sure what it means that I cannot sustain myself, that the bread is not mine to make, provide, or purchase, but to receive freely from God. I can describe that intellectually, but I still believe somewhere deep inside that responsibility lies ultimately with me.

Give us this day our daily bread. Providence for today, received freely, with faith that tomorrow there will also be bread given. This is such a radical concept for me. I am like the Israelites, going out to gather more manna than I need, trying to provide some insurance and buffer that tomorrow I will be ok, still have resources, by the function of my own planning and ability*. This vicelike control l I try to maintain in my life, to create a sense of assurance, only creates distance between me and the Lord. It limits how much of my heart — and my life — I am willing to yield to God.

Similarly, I am learning that my healing comes from God. I want so badly to be able to think my way out of pain. I want to solve my own problems and heal my own heart through sheer force of will. But God is revealing to me that I am not just a rational being, but an emotional and spiritual one. The hurt in my heart is not just the collateral damage of events in my life, but the expression of my longing to know God and to feel and believe in his unconditional love for me. I can’t do that on my own.

My prayer is that I would lean into these moments of uncomfortable revelation, trusting that God would continue the good work in my heart. I pray that I would not deny the hunger in my heart with distractions instead of sustenance.

* This passage is about the Israelites in the wilderness receiving their daily bread in the form of manna from God. It speaks to me and reflects my own flawed attitude toward provision in my life: “Then Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it until morning.” However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them.” Exodus 16:19–20