Jeremiah affirms that God is his mighty champion, a source of protection in times of trial. May we echo his sentiment as we proclaim the psalm response, “In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice!”
Let’s take a look at these readings that help us kick off Lent:
1st Reading – a recap of how God saved the Israelites in Egypt
Psalm – “Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble.”
2nd Reading – “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Gospel – Jesus overcomes the Devil’s 3 temptations
Have you ever been in trouble? Serious trouble? End of your rope? Lost? Confused? Abandoned? Scared? Feeling like you cannot breathe because the air has gone out of your chest? Feeling utterly alone?
You’re in good company. People of faith for over 3000 years have called upon the Lord in their darkest moments – seeking guidance and strength.
And God provides. We don’t have to look very hard to find examples of pain and suffering, hardship and loss, struggle, catastrophe and sin. We also know that there are no promises that life will be easy and free from pain. What we know is simple: God walks with us and sustains us in our moments of need.
Of course this is only a half truth – God walks with us always! God never leaves us, but for some very human reason we seem to call out loud and strong when we recognize our need for the Lord. Isn’t it odd that we “get it” when we are in need…that many of us who dedicate our lives to Christ see much more clearly when the truth is self-evident?
Perhaps not. Perhaps what this first week of Lent shows us is that our need for God (always present in our lives) is most easily observed when we cannot hide from our need. For when we are in trouble, we are confronted with the clear and obvious reality that it is only with the Lord’s grace that we can be guided and sustained. In the times of our testing we discover both our limitations and the Lord’s love.
What are you facing in your life right now? What requires your own personal admission and acceptance of Christ’s mercy? Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble!
If you are looking for more material to help you this Lent, you might consider this list of presentations I have offered over the last couple of years. Feel free to check it out and share if you find it helpful:
The readings state plainly the hostility and difficulty we often find in lives. Sometimes the battle is outside ourselves, and sometimes it is within. Yet as we fight our battles, we constantly use our most powerful weapon: the grace we receive through our faith in Jesus Christ!
The accident at the oil refinery in Superior last week was a stark reminder how we rely on and support one another in times of danger. Where do we find the strength to work together? United in our faith in Jesus Christ we are nourished with God’s grace so that we can offer our lives for one another.
When the going gets tough, the tough live their faith! The early Church faced opposition even as it was filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit. We, too, call upon the Lord to face our trials with the same strength that inspired and strengthened the disciples.
God’s promise to Abraham is transformed and renewed by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As we look to our challenges and trials today, may we build upon the foundation of faith that we have received and offer our lives in service to the Lord.