Scripture: Genesis 15:1-17
Even as the Lenten season is a journey through the wilderness—a time where the focus is on repentance and fasting—it is also a season steeped in God’s promises. We walk this wilderness journey with Christ, reflecting on His life and ministry, ever looking ahead to the great Promise that culminates with Easter Sunday.
In this passage, we find Abram in his own sort of wilderness. He is rich in livestock and land and yet he is having trouble holding on to the promise that God made to him back in chapter 12. God told him that he would be the father of a great nation, yet he remained childless and he and Sarai weren’t getting any younger. Doubt seems natural if you look at his situation through a practical lens. When you are living in the midst of your own spiritual wilderness, God’s promises can seem distant. With your mind steeped in the practicalities of life, it takes the Word to tell you, “Do not be afraid.” God reminds Abram of His promise – the promise that his descendants would outnumber the stars, that he would father a land and a people. God doesn’t promise that all will be perfect. There will be oppression and suffering in that future promise, but they will be His people and they will be a blessing to all nations. And it will come to pass not through Abram’s power, but through God’s power and Abram’s obedience.
Lent reminds us that God is reaching out to us in the same way. The same God who was the initiator of this covenant relationship with Abram is actively pursuing a relationship with us. He is pursuing us with His unrelenting love and His endless grace for His redeeming purpose. Lent is a season of opportunity to cast away the burdens and practicalities that we carry that can make Christ’s promises seem so distant. In the midst of the wilderness, we hear the voice of God reminding us to not be afraid. Even as the outcomes can seem impossible, or the wilderness of life seems like a vast wasteland at the moment, Abram’s story reminds us of the character of the One who makes and keeps promises.
~Sally Carlson, Leadership Board