Lent is a Christian observance that is somewhat foreign to me, given my upbringing. When I was growing up, we didn't observe Lent in the Nazarene church, though many Nazarenes observe Lent now. To us, Lent was a "high church" thing. High church meaning liturgical churches like Episcopals and Catholics, not Rastafarians. I guess we were low church. It's become more in vogue in recent years to celebrate Lent among Evangelicals, which I think is a good thing, even though I don't observe it myself.
Lent is meant to commemorate the 40 days that Jesus fasted in the desert. (Matthew 4:1-2, blog, Luke 4:1-2, blog). That's why many Christians fast, or give up something for Lent. They're identifying with the sacrifice that Jesus made. I have a niece that gave up Facebook for Lent a few years ago. That was a major sacrifice for her.
I've never really taken part in that practice. I thought of it as a Catholic thing. But this year is different, as it is for everything.
There's no way I'll fast, of course. That would not end well. I wish I could give up cancer for Lent! But then it would come back after Easter.
I can't possibly describe how much a call I received from my oncologist's office this week rocked my world. I can't explain why, but suddenly I have no desire to know what they'll say when I go. I'm experiencing an emotion that is rare for me; fear. I'm afraid of what they'll say.
The last two days have been swirling with emotion for me. I don't know how to feel. It's hard to explain. I called my oncologist's office and discussed my concerns, but there's nothing for it but to go ahead.
I've never been much of a worrier. I've always just believed that things will turn out OK. And for me, for the most part, they have. But I had my first near sleepless night in a long time last night, worrying about this. Where is the trust in God that I've been so secure in all of this time? This means I have to apologize to all of the worriers I know. Turns out I'm mortal after all.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to overcome it. Does the kid who's trying to jump from a tree branch into their father's arms feel fear before they jump? Yes, but if they trust their father, they jump anyway. And that's what I'm gonna do. I'm afraid, but I'm gonna jump anyway. I've trusted God this far. How can I stop trusting him now?
I'm giving up fear for Lent.