This week I received some painful news. It happens from time to time, an it’s not the news so much as how we handle it. I found myself walking through the churchyard praying ‘Sorry God, I’m going to break my fast – I just need to break into those birthday chocolates, and the left over chocolate cake in the fridge, and maybe a beer….’ And I felt God say, ‘It’s OK, my precious child, don’t fret’. And so I did indeed dive in!
Do I feel guilty about eating chocolate, or cake, or even drinking beer? No. It helped soften the immediate blow of the pain.
Did I feel sad? Yes.
I feel sad, because the purpose of fasting through Lent isn’t to prove how stoic we can be, it isn’t about dieting, it isn’t about being pious or earning heavenly brownie points. It is about drawing closer to God, about clearing away all the clutter so that we can focus more intensely on our relationship with Jesus.
I feel sad, not because I ate chocolate. I feel sad, because, other than those brief few words, I didn’t spend time with Jesus. I didn’t find a safe place to be with my heavenly Father and allow him to take away the pain, I didn’t spend focussed time with Jesus trying to see his light shining through this bleak moment.
But just as there is no point in crying over spilt milk (or devoured chocolates), there is no point harbouring feelings of guilt or sadness and allowing them to build a wall blocking off our relationship with God. Today is my ‘day off’, my Sabbath rest day, so I’m going to sign off and spend some time now pouring everything out to Jesus properly, not just random thoughts pinged off. I’m going to take time with my Bible and my journal. I going to sit in the sunshine and let the Son’s light bring warmth and rekindle the hope that was dampened this week.