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Lent: A Time of Personal Reflection

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Carrie encourages us to dwell in the presence of God and feast on Him in His Word as we prepare to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

On 19 Feb, Kai Mun was found to be COVID-positive, life began to take on a different rhythm. The ensuing 10 days were harrowing, one filled with stress just to keep up with processes to minimise contact, disinfect touch points, cook, clean etc. Our communication was through text messages and calls. I did all I could to “protect and preserve our lives” and God was far and remote from my mind, let alone Lent. Even though I did my Bible reading, one-on-one with others, Bible studies, prayed for people etc., it was more of fulfilling my “to-do” list and satisfying my conscience as a Christian.

I remember that it was during an ordinary day when I was working from home and looking through the ministry guide for the weekend of 5/6 March services, that the word Lent in the document caught my attention. It seemed to shout at me to “Stop! Pause!” and prompted by the Holy Spirit, I did just that. “What are you saying to me, God?” I asked in my heart.

In His divine, providential will, He led me to a Lent devotional and the text for reflection was from Psalm 16:11,

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Do I take pleasure in His presence like the psalmist in this passage? God in that very moment stripped me bare, He searched my inner thoughts and convicted me of my sin—the desire for control over my life. I felt ashamed that I had usurped God’s authority and failed to enjoy this fullness of joy in His presence. I confessed my sins and began to till the soil of my heart. I entrusted my insecurities in particular my anxiety about the future, us—a childless couple—getting on in years and sick, with no children to care for us.

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This psalm reminds me to not cruise through this Lenten season but to fix my eyes on Jesus, prepare room in my heart for Him, feast my soul on Jesus in His Word and be in awe of how He journeyed from the garden of Gethsemane to the cross where mercy and justice meets, and finally the hope and joy of His resurrection and life.

Let me encourage us to be silent before God and slow down to do some soul-care during this season of Lent by dwelling in His presence, feasting on Him in His word as we prepare to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Like the words of this old familiar hymn:

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all. 

Let’s look to the cross and nail all the “vain things” that take you and I away from being in God’s presence. God desires and demands our soul, our life and our all. Are we willing to submit to Him this season? Though we are in the 4th week of Lent, it’s never too late to soul-feast on Jesus today and enjoy this joy of close fellowship in His presence.