Lent – Groaning
Today was the day that best describes what I think most people would associate with Lent. Today’s practice was to fast during daylight hours. A true denial of self. Unfortunately for me I wrestled growing up and if you know anything about wrestlers you probably know we can do some stupid stuff to cut weight. Running around in trash bags, starving yourself…you get the idea. Again, stupid stuff. This was in no way a good way to lose weight or get into better shape. During his senior year of high school my younger brother cut so much weight he was just weak. While he may have been one of the highest ranked in that weight class, it did him no good because he hadn’t eaten a real meal in days.
Fasting for me starts out pretty easy. Don’t think about it, don’t think about it…ok I’m thinking about it, but it’s ok…I’m fine. I usually just get back into cutting weight mode and I’m good to go. But is the point to get through a day of fasting with as little pain or discomfort as possible? Or is the point to be let in on the pain and suffering Christ endured for us, even if it’s on an incredibly smaller scale? Should we do our best to ignore the hunger pains or do we embrace them and allow ourselves to be reminded (or shown for the first time) how a large portion of the world feels everyday?
Today was a revelation for me. With every growl my stomach made, for every groan for cereal and leftover pizza it made I allowed myself to be reminded of the groaning I’m sure Jesus experienced when we went without food for 40 days in the desert.
I feel like this transcends just when we are hungry. I believe that our hearts groan for something more. There is something deep inside of us that yearns for more than this life can offer. It’s different than hunger pains because those can be cured fairly easily. This groaning of the soul cannot be satisfied with quick fixes and drive thru style comforts.
I believe we are all yearning and longing for the same thing, but we try to satisfy that longing with the temporary. I believe, at the core of who we are, we are all longing to be back in the same kind of relationship with God that Adam and Eve enjoyed in the garden.
Maybe that’s what heaven is…but I’ll tell you this, I am embracing that soul groaning instead of ignoring it or trying to cure it on my own. I’m trying to figure it out, because like my stomach today, my soul is groaning and I want it to be full. Care to join me?
P.S. – I went to an all you can eat wings night after it got dark…probably not the best way to wrap up the day, but it was so good.