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Lent Devotional: Thursday, April 4

"To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight, and find that the dark too, blooms and sings." – Wendell Berry

Some of us live on the edge of the wilderness – finding ourselves there more times than we would like and for rather unpredictable reasons. We don't want to go into the dark, we don't wish it on people, but we find ourselves there. In the Bible, these wilderness experiences are too often characterized almost as punishments, but perhaps that is missing the point. As Berry points out, there is beauty even in the dark. God, too, is in the dark.

For a variety of reasons, I find myself in the wilderness these days. I am screaming and crying, at times cursing because I am hurt at the unfairness of life. Screaming about in the dark stillness – I wait for God's response.

During Lent we focus on Christ's sojourn into the wilderness. We imagine this period as a time of refinement, of reflection leading up to His ministry, of Christ mindfully praying constantly. I wonder if it would hurt to think that perhaps Jesus went into the wilderness as well, like Job or Jeptha's daughter, to mourn what might have been. If mournful anger might not have been part of Christ's journey.

Years ago, South Main put on Into the Woods and a verse from the final song has always caught my attention –
"Into the woods you have to grope, but that's the way you learn to cope – into the woods to find there's hope of getting through the journey."

I am learning to cope. I am learning to be angry and wait for God to respond. I am learning there may be some unexpected beauty and grace in the midst of it.


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