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As they went out, they came upon a man of Cyre’ne, Simon by name; this man they compelled to carry his cross. — Matthew 27:32

I have always been drawn to Lent. I can’t really articulate why except that Lent encourages some significant self reflection. Too often, if done right, these reflections can lead to change and sacrifice.

Lent is filled with sacrifice. The point, of course, is to reflect on Christ’s sacrifice, to feel just a little bit of the pain he felt, and to draw closer to God as we let go of the worldly comforts. This isn’t easy. Sacrifice often includes pain of some type. Sacrifice requires thinking beyond yourself and your wants. Sacrifice demands discipline. Sacrifice isn’t fun.

And yet, I love Lent. I love the deep study and reflection of the season. Deep down, far below my selfish nature, exists a desire to remove the suffocating materialism and shallowness that so often characterizes modern life. I am so tired of cheap grace found in so many Christian circles.

When we traverse the wilderness of Lent, we suffer but it’s through the suffering of sacrifice that we draw closer to The Christ, authentically and humbled.

What a merciful God; he does not ask us to journey alone. As the psalmist said, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me…” God has been with us and continues to be with us in all times. Lent may be full of sacrifice but it’s also full of mercy and grace!

Easter is coming but don’t rush it. Don’t jump ahead to celebration without understanding the sacrifice. Jesus has indeed paid your debt but he has asked you to pick up your cross. We often forget that detail of the story. Lord, in your mercy, forgive us.

Will you join me? Or more importantly will you join Christ, picking up your cross, and following Him?