This season leading up to Good Friday and Easter is quite significant for me. I assume most everyone reading this is familiar with the season but for those who aren’t, these few weeks represent a time of reflection and remembering, specifically of Jesus and his last days on earth in flesh and blood. The season culminates into the commemoration of the untimely death by crucifixion and resurrection thereafter of this Jesus, who I believe to be God, for the salvation of humanity. I admit, it’s not a story that’s easily believable and yet, altogether amazing at the same time.
Though there’s a seemingly happy ending to it all, most of this season is clouded with an over-current of grief and uncertainty (at least, that’s how I imagine it would’ve felt back when it was actually happening). It’s a rather solemn season. I mean, think about it – someone predicts their death, and though they also tell you that’s not the end, that there will be resurrection, I’m pretty sure I’d focus on the death part a LOT more. That’s my tendency in general anyways. I tend to notice and hang onto sadness or impending gloom much more than happiness or pleasure or enjoyment. Isn’t a lot of life like that, though? Don’t we remember the hard times much more than the good ones? When we enter seasons of grief, doesn’t it feel like it’ll last forever, whereas seasons of happiness seem fleeting?
Traditionally, Christians enter this season of Lent with a some form of fasting, giving up certain luxuries or items of indulgence. These days, I hear about people giving up meat, sweets, and caffeine, among other things. I tried to give up sleeping in for a little bit but then I got the flu so that went out the window. I sometimes wonder about this exercise of fasting from something during Lent and how it’s usually something that’s actually beneficial for us to give up. I think we could all use less meat, sweets and caffeine in our lives. So then it makes me wonder if that’s actually sacrificial. Cuz sacrifice should cause some pain. It should hurt to give that thing up. Maybe it does for some, maybe it doesn’t for others. When I wake up earlier, I’m not really reminded of Jesus and his suffering.
For those of us who have plenty of suffering already, maybe it’s not a healthy exercise to add to it. People who live in a state of sadness are pretty desperate already. We’re either desperate for God or we’re desperate for another life or both. I read something really beautiful today. It comes from the New Living Translation of Psalm 56. It says God keeps track of our sorrows. Okay, well, this guy, David, says that to God, that God keeps track of his sorrows. David’s a cool guy and all but he’s also just as broken as the rest of us, so I’m gonna go ahead and say that if God kept track of David’s sorrows, that he keeps track of ours, too.
I had to read that line over and over again. I’m still reading it, actually. I kinda knew in the back of my head that God knows all of my suffering and pain but I never thought he keeps track of them. That kinda puts our relationship on a whole different level. I’ve noticed that whenever I learn about someone’s pain, I feel more drawn to them. It helps me understand that person a little more. That means this omniscient and omnipresent God sits down with me and actually takes time to wipe away my every tear. (Actually, David says right after the “keeping track” statement that God collects all of his tears in a bottle, which, to me, is pretty much the same sentiment.) And it’s not a once and for all act. He keeps coming, every time I experience pain.
Why… is for another day. For now I take comfort in the God who cares about my every pain. And I attempt, as much as I know how, to remember the pain and suffering that he endured, and continues to endure on humanity’s behalf.