Finding Faith: The Journey
Journey: to move from point A to point B. We are in the period of Lent. It starts officially on Ash Wednesday and ends officially on Easter. The purpose of lent is to prepare the believer for Easter. It is a time of repentance, fasting, giving to the poor and self-denials
Scripture reminds us that Jesus spent 40 days in the desert without solid food after his baptism. Why? Well, you can imagine that Jesus, the man, wanted to better understand His relationship with God, His real Father.
Since Jesus human side was just like us, everything he did, had to be able to be accomplished by a normal human. Fasting, if you are heathy, without food for 40 days is possible, but it would have been enormously difficult.
10 days or so after He started His fast, He would have felt elated and happy to be fasting and wanting closer contact with God. By day 20 it would have been very uncomfortable almost all the time. Walking would be painful. His sense of touch starting to be extra sensitive- even to the bottom of his feet. Day 25 he is not walking much because He is so tired. He may be experiencing a fever and mild hallucinations. His joints are aching, His muscles are hurting because his body has been eating them for energy so He is not moving well. Talking is a problem.
By day 30 he can’t get comfortable, sitting up is a problem, laying down is a problem. His belly hurts. By day 35 He is in real pain. It hurts to move even to swallow. His mouth is full of sores, His joints are swollen. He is hallucinating half the time. He is forgetting things. He is dreaming of food. His teeth are hurting and feel loose. He is getting nose bleeds and His feet are sore and probably bleeding. He is confused. Concentration would be very hard. By day forty he is near death. His skin is hanging from his limbs, most of his fat is gone – consumed by his own body. His eyes are sunken into his face, the sunlight hurts, the brightness is painful. When the temptation comes to Him, He is exhausted. Giving in would have been so easy. We would have given in.
When He stops His fast it will take a day of two to eat a full slice of bread without getting nauseous. It may take a week before He can sleep all night.
On top of all that He has suffered on His fast, by the end of this fast Jesus will understand how He is going to die! He will know why He is going to die! He will know how to stop His cruel death if he wishes. Yet we know he does not stop it. He does not avoid it. He will go through with everything for us.
Welcome to Lent! As Christians, we believe Jesus did all this and all that was to come in His life for us. The questions now is, “What value do we give His sacrifice?”
Have you started your journey of repentance? Have you started thinking of all the errors you have made this year? Have you asked God for forgiveness? How have you judged others? Did you make that judgement and use it to assist others or did you thank God you were not like them? Have you thought about giving up a meal and giving the difference to the poor? Are you such a good person that you should be excused? Tell me, was Jesus a “Good Person?” Should He have been excused?
None of us is perfect. All of us need mercy for our errors. We truly begin our journey by saying to God, “I am sorry”. Then we ask for His help to live a better life. A simple prayer will start it: “Lord, may I have the grace to do you will today?”
Finding Faith is written by area pastors. This week’s column comes from Pastor Jay Saldana of Swissdale, Dunnstown and Liberty United Methodist Churches.