The season started with tears. Easter felt far away as I faced a too familiar pattern of goodbyes I didn’t want to say and mourned hellos I’ve long been waiting for not coming to fruition once again. A culmination of many events crashing into one, left me weary and speaking of the wilderness.
Ever since those first days following Ash Wednesday, that word—wilderness—stuck with me and kept coming up as if I was supposed to learn something from it.
I sat in church on the first Sunday of Lent, struck by the heart and poignancy of our collect:
“O Lord God, You led your people through the wilderness and brought them to a land of promise. So guide us through our wildernesses, keep our feet steady on the path home to heaven and guide us by Your Word and Spirit-never letting us out of Your sight. This we pray in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You, Father, and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. AMEN.”
Being in the wilderness requires trust—trust that He is answering our prayers and won’t cease to be our guide. In my wilderness moment, trust that yes, new people and specifically a principal would walk through our church doors. In these 40 days of Lent, no pillar of cloud or fire has appeared to follow on the streets of Aiea, but His Word declares promise: “Look, I am about to so something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19).
And, He does by rekindling purpose, sending provision, and ordaining rest. Respite found in reunion with friends and a newly baptized baby sleeping in my arms. Provision found at the top of a lighthouse and conversation with family around tables in Atlanta and St. Louis. Purpose found in high school students’ laughter and a trunk full of Easter baskets.
He sustains not only our bodies but also our souls with a holy meal. Simple bread and wine, yet miraculous sustenance found in His body and blood. We’re not on the path alone for when we partake we discover “grace and a sense of belonging” in the midst of uncomfortable scenery as Pastor preached on Maundy Thursday night.
He knows more and sees more. Up the hill to Calvary, He leads the way. “It is finished,” He cries. And with this declaration, we find our land of promise lies in the cross and empty tomb, all tears wiped away.