Pause

Have you ever waited for a day with such expectancy that you could hardly contain your joy? We endure the waiting time, knowing what is to come will overshadow anything that came before.

This kind of longing also shows up in our spiritual lives. During the season of Lent we wait for what we know is coming but is not here yet.

I invite you, as we endure the hard days ahead, to lean into the darkness before the light, sit with the sorrow before the joy, and relish the silence before the trumpets and Alleluias.

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Listen

Seek the Lord when he can still be found; call him while he is yet near. Let the wicked abandon their ways and the sinful their schemes. Let them return to the Lord so that he may have mercy on them, to our God, because he is generous with forgiveness. My plans aren’t your plans, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my plans than your plans.

Isaiah 55:6-9

 

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Think

I recently came across a book called Zoom by Istvan Banyai. It begins with a picture of triangles, which turn out to be a rooster. As you turn the pages the rooster is actually a part of a photo in a book. And as you continue, the book is in the hands of a child, and the child is part of an ad on a bus. Eventually the entire scene zooms out so far that the image is of the earth.

This is similar to what we find in our text. Sometimes we get so focused on the image of the rooster that we miss the bigger picture. Life can be very difficult at times or even just plain boring. We have to endure all kinds of things here on earth — great love and joy, pain and trials, deep sorrow and mourning.

But God’s grace, mercy, and love are greater than we can ever understand. The hard times we have to endure are only a small part of a larger story at work.

Katie Gilbert

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Pray

God, it is hard to admit that I don’t know it all. Help me to focus not so much on the difficult times but to zoom out and see the bigger picture. Amen.

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Go

God is teaching us.
We endure through so much—
through time, through pain,
through joy and sorrow,
sunshine and rain,
And sometimes the boring everyday.

But God is teaching us.
Love remains.
Mercy is wide.
Grace abounds.
The Alleluias are coming…

And God is teaching us.
Inviting all of us on the journey.
Enduring, overcoming,
growing, changing, becoming.

Katie Gilbert

Rev. Katie Gilbert currently serves as Director of Outreach and Invitation at First United Methodist Church of Birmingham, AL. She enjoys spending time with her husband Matt, her 9 month old daughter Harper, and their crazy Boston Terrier, Lennon. They love to travel the world, eat good food, and spend time with family.

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