A Devotional for Lent

“There are mini-crises and then there are real crises,”

my boss at the library told me years ago when I was upset over a very small mix-up that turned out fine.

I’m not sure I believed him.

I wanted a pat on the back telling me I was right, not the truth.

I wanted someone to side with me, not tell me to get some perspective.

But his words (both perspective-altering and truthful) have carried me through hard days and multiple mini-crises.  He was right.

There are difficult days and then there are life-and-death crises.

Sometimes I forget the difference. Sometimes I live everyday like a life and death crisis.

Life is not an emergency,” says Ann Voscamp.

Part of managing my own internal state is recognizing what is an emergency and what is not.

If I can’t learn to handle the small problems of life, then how will I hold up when I’m faced with real life crises?

The key to altering my perspective is understanding what is immediate and short-lived versus what is eternal and life-changing.

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So when a friend of mine told me how she slid off a slippery country road and got stuck in the snow, I had no idea how she finagled that car out of the field.

She said she decided at that moment to put it in park and pray because there wasn’t any way she was going to get out of the snow on her own.  Afterwards, her words reminded me what to do when faced with my own mini-crises:

Put it in park and pray.

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When Christ faced the cross, he faced his crisis with prayer and anguish in the olive grove of Gethsemane. He faced his crisis by communing with the Father.

And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed saying, ‘my Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will but as you will.’

If God-in-flesh faced his trials through prayer, then how much more do I need to pray when faced with my everyday hardships?

His example on earth should be my life guide, but instead I’m living more like the disciples.  Sleepwalking through life.  Listening, but not always doing.

When the disciples were asked to watch and pray, they chose the temporary relief of rest over the live-changing effects of prayer. Jesus challenged them,

So could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

Like us, prayer often gets pushed aside by our immediate needs and overriding desires.  I get it—I like to sleep.  I probably wouldn’t have done any better at Gethsemane.  Like the disciples, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

But Jesus gives better advice.  Watch and pray.

He knew what the disciples were about to witness, but the disciples didn’t have a clue and neither do we.  We have no idea whether tomorrow is going to be the best day of our lives or the worst.

So how do we face all of our days–the uninspired and the ugly, the boring and the burdened and the I-barely-survived-this-day?

Instead of ruminating over everything that went wrong today, instead of worrying or throwing a giant pity party, let’s practice this.

Put it in park and pray.

 

 

If you enjoyed this devotional for Lent, check this out.

Sara

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