Speaker: Tyler McKenzie
Lent: What to Expect
For the next seven weeks leading up to Easter, we’re looking back, remembering our sin that led to death.
Each week, you’ll be invited to participate in:
- Reading a devotion from one of our staff members about the work of Jesus.
- A few questions for reflection
If you commit to engaging in this season of Lent with us, it’s our prayer that you’ll approach Easter with confidence and joy, ready to worship our God who is alive.
This resource can be used for your individual growth, but we encourage you to use it in community with others. Walk through the weekly reflections with your small group, or use the reflection section for weekly accountability with a close friend.
Week Two Devotional
By CJ Stephens
I had a funny experience the other day that ended up being kind of profound.
I was going through some old pictures on Facebook with a couple of coworkers. (Okay… we were really just wasting time at work.) But as we were going through them, seeing old faces, remembering all the dumb things we did, I was struck by all the emotions they brought up.
You see, some of these pictures were of friends I’ve lost touch with. They were of people who have moved away. It brought back some painful experiences. It brought back mistakes that I’ve made and feelings that I’ve hurt. It made me feel real regret.
Going through those pictures also brought up a lot of beautiful memories too. I was reminded of the marriages that were falling apart that have been put back together. I was reminded of the people that were far away from God and have now given their hearts to Him. I could see all those little babies growing up into the amazing people they are today. That’s the funny thing about looking at old pictures as you get older. Each picture not only holds a memory, but brings up so many stories.
As I was scrolling through these pictures, it hit me that each of those pictures is a glimpse into how God was writing my story all along. There were some painful pictures and there were some beautiful ones. Yet every one of those put together helps to create who I’ve become today.
And that got me thinking about victories. I’ll be honest, it’s been really hard for me to see the victories of Jesus over the last couple of years. I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, but the last few years have just been so very different from what I thought they’d be- from what I’ve planned. When I think about how Jesus has been moving, it’s so hard for me to immediately recall the wins. And yet, there have been “wins” all over the place.
So often I get so stuck on this idea that every victory needs to be a big one. Like the end of Rocky, or when Michael Jordan defeats the aliens in Space Jam. But that’s not really how life works is it? It’s not always about the big victories because, let’s be honest, those are few and far between. Life is really about the small victories all along the way.
It was easy to see how we were stuck at home but miss how close I’ve gotten with my kids.
It was easy to see how unpredictable work life has been but miss how it really helped me put my work in its proper place in my life.
It was easy to see how stressful everything can be, but miss learning how to trust in God more.
I think it’s also been easy to feel a little bit abandoned by God years. Nothing seems to be going right. Those big victories have just been so elusive. It’s been easy for us to question His sovereignty or His goodness. Yet looking at those pictures reminded me that through it all, God’s had a plan. He was in control all along, both in those memories on Facebook and through the pandemic.
You know, it didn’t make any sense to the disciples when they saw Jesus nailed to the cross and publicly humiliated and killed. They didn’t know the plan. They were lost and confused and felt abandoned. Yet all along, He was in control. He was writing the story.
It doesn’t really make much sense to me what we are all going through and yet I know that I serve a God that says over and over again in Scripture “I will never leave you or forsake you.” I serve a risen Savior that said “And surely I am with you always even to the end of the age.”
In this season of Lent, we spend so much of our time remembering the sacrifice of Jesus, reorienting our eyes and hearts back to the cross. In this season of life where it’s been so hard to see the victories and wins, I’m choosing to trust in the plan. I’m choosing to trust that the God who has guided all of my story from the very beginning and who has given me far more grace than I deserve is going to guide me forward still.
This week, I encourage you to take a walk down memory lane. Go through those old photo books or social media accounts. Take a look at those embarrassing haircuts. And remember: the God who wrote your story from the beginning is still writing.
He’s given you victories in the past and He’ll continue to lead you toward new ones.
Through many dangers, toils and snares
We have already come.
T’was Grace that brought us safe thus far
And Grace will lead us home .
- How have you seen God through small victories in the past few months?
- When were some times that you doubted God’s plan?
- How did God work through those difficult circumstances for His glory?
Spend some time thanking God for bringing you thus far. Share with Him where you just aren’t sure about His plan. Ask Him to be in those difficult places and work His will. Pray for the faith to trust His plan along the way.