Treasures in the Darkness

Posted on 9 Mar 2011 in Reveal | 0 comments

I’m taking a deep breath today.
Inhaling, exhaling.
It was Ash Wednesday.
I didn’t go anywhere special to have ashes painted on my forehead, though I respect and admire those who do. But I did have a remarkably spiritual morning.

It was sweetness and light and mystery and joy. From a place of tenderness I’ve never really known. And it drew me once again into the place of peace. The place of knowing. The place where things are reflecting ever-increasing glory.

I read a different translation yesterday of Isaiah 40:3-5. It moved a comma, and indicated that we’re preparing a way for the Lord *in* the wilderness, not shouting *in* the wilderness.
In the past, I would have always seen: “A voice cries out in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way’”. I’m sure that there’s some interpretation going on there, as well, thinking of the New Testament prophet John the Baptist. This particular translation, however, struck me deeply.

This is what Lent feels like to me. There are so many interpretations of what Lent is about. Fasting, praying, giving things up. But it’s about being in the wilderness. And that’s where I have been dwelling recently. A speaker that I listen to says that the wilderness is the place that Jesus brings you when He’s most pleased with you. It’s His secret place, His treasured place. It’s the place where you become even more the glorious person that He has destined you to be.

In Isaiah 45, it goes on to offer us treasures (secret riches) hidden in the darkness.

And so, in thinking about Lent this year, I’m thinking about preparing a way for the Lord in my own wilderness. Normally when I’m lost, scared or alone here in the darkness, I’d much rather beg for God to show me a way out. I want to LEAVE the wilderness. Yet, here, I’m called to dwell in the wilderness and make a way for God to come into my presence. A way to glorify Him in the midst of the darkness and troubles.

So, this year for Lent, I’m thinking about how I can best invite God into my wilderness. My doubts, pain, frustration and anger about all the many things that seem to be sapping life away. How do I prepare the way for God to meet me in the midst of these things? How do I open highways for His kingdom to come to earth?

And I invite you into this journey with me. For forty days, we celebrate the wilderness. The place where God refines us and turns us even more into His own likeness. And we wait for Holy Week. We anticipate His coming. First with suffering, then with glory.

Our own lives are so often like that. But we forget the glory of treasures in the darkness – secret riches. We want the glories and treasures of the everyday.

Many of my friends are approaching simplicity and gratitude as spiritual disciplines for Lent. I think this is brilliant. In a world where we are continually encouraged to glory in the things that fade and pass away, it’s wonderful to think more presently about what matters, what is significant, what brings joy.

I’m not sure that any spiritual discipline will manifest during this Lenten season for me. I’m not sure I’ll succeed in giving anything up. But I do know that I want this to be a season of preparing for the Lord to invade my world.

I want to wake up on Easter Sunday to the glory of the resurrection and know that there is more of God’s Kingdom on earth than there was today.
I want to fill in the valleys of doubt and fear and shame. I want to fill them with faith, courage and love.
I want to level the mountains of insecurity and self-abasement. I want to demolish them with encouragement and authenticity.
I want to straighten the curves of deception and despair with the smooth lines of truth and hope.
I want the rough places of pain and suffering to be healed.
Then, I know the Glory of my Lord will be revealed. And all people will see it together.

So I wish you a happy wilderness this Lent. I wish you all the glories of the desert.
I wish you the treasures hidden in the darkness – secret riches.
As I seek them out, I promise to bring them into the light to share.