We live in a fast-paced culture of instant-gratification. Particularly in our day and age, we don’t wait for very much – do we? We have fast food and quick commutes, so it’s no wonder we just can’t handle it when asked to wait in line at the DMV. Waiting is foreign language to us, and the words of “not yet” fall on our ears with confusion and impatience.
But the season of Lent is a time uniquely set aside for longing. Many of us will give up coffee or dessert or social media for forty days – not just to improve our health or lose weight, but specifically to provoke our own longings. We allow ourselves to grow hungry, to long to return to our social accounts, and to sit in the tension of relief that has not yet come.
And this Lent – this season of longing – reminds us of a truer reality: we are not satisfied. Just like our growling stomachs, we crave something that has not yet fully come. Our temporary cravings teach us that what we are truly waiting for is the coming Kingdom of God.
In Lent, the invitation is extended to each of us to sit in anticipation of and longing for the Kingdom. Like Christ in the wilderness, we will provoke our cravings and be reminded that God will have the final word. Like Moses in the wilderness, we squint our eyes at the horizon and ask our good God when He will lead us into the Promised Land. Like the disciples, we take the time to wonder, inquire, and talk about what it might mean that the Kingdom has come and is yet still to come. Lent is a time for us, as Kingdom people, to ultimately long for the Kingdom of God.
And, just like our temporary cravings, this longing will start to change us. Giving up dessert or coffee or social media may be one small part of your Lenten observation; though you may not be doing it to lose weight or wean yourself from entertainment, in time your body will change. Slowly, incrementally, and almost unnoticed, you will be changed. You will wake up one morning and notice that you’re less dependent on caffeine or sugar, and you might even see a change in your physical appearance. One day, you’ll be sitting in a café waiting to meet your friend and, for the first time in a long time, you won’t reach for your phone to distract you. Slowly but certainly, you will change. Because you chose to crave, you will different.
This Lent, we will provoke our longing for the Kingdom of God. Corporately and privately, we will look towards that final horizon when our eternal King comes again, and we will deliberately sit in the tension of His Kingdom being “already” in Christ, and “not yet” in redemptive history. And as we do so, it is our prayer that we will be changed. Sitting with the way of the Kingdom squarely before us, we pray to be formed and reformed into people fit for that Kingdom.
Thank you for joining us. We are grateful.
All the love,
Amy & Austin Gannett