The season of Lent invites us into the wilderness. To prepare ourselves for the Resurrection and to commemorate the 40 days that Jesus spent fasting in the desert, many believers commit to giving up something that ensnares them from fully depending on the Lord.
Many of the people we serve are in a wilderness that they did not intentionally choose and of which they cannot see the end.
While men and women alike may feel the scarcity in the wilderness, I think specifically of the many women I know who feel lost, trapped, hopeless, and alone in their circumstances.
I immediately think of my friend "Adriana," who recently found a space in a run-down apartment complex. Although she doesn't have to pay rent since there is no owner, she has no access to heat and electricity, and the only thing preventing someone from entering her apartment is a small deadlock she fixed to the outside of her door.
I think of "Martha," a neighbor that we have connection with through the church, who is blind and lost both of her legs to diabetes. While her husband faithfully cares for her, my heart breaks knowing how lonely and trapped she must feel everyday as she sits in her house, not knowing whether it is day or night.
Further, I think of the woman who came crying to our team on Monday, terrified that she is going to be kicked out of her home because she no longer can pay her rent after losing her job several months ago.
Jesus knows what it's like to be in the wilderness. He's no stranger to suffering and hardship. Whether it is in the season of Lent when we intentionally enter the wilderness or when we find ourselves in a desert we did not choose, Jesus meets us there.
When all is stripped away we can more acutely see our need for Jesus. It's my hope that this will be the case for you, for me, and for all the people we know and serve.
Have you intentionally or unintentionally experienced the wilderness in recent years? What was it like to encounter Jesus there?