10 As soon as it was night, the brothers and sisters sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. Upon arrival, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 The people here were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, since they received the word with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. 12 Consequently, many of them believed, including a number of the prominent Greek women as well as men.Acts 16:10-12 Christian Standard Bible
I often say that in Berea, we are well read. I base this conviction on Acts 16:10-12. Bereans were people of character who eagerly received the teachings of Paul and Silas and then searched the Scriptures themselves to confirm their learning. I do not believe the Bereans who came to saving faith searched the Scriptures to check off boxes. Does it read like Paul said? Did Silas take it out of context? Call me simple, but I believe the Bereans held midrash. They talked about what they heard, and they considered it. They examined the Scriptures daily — they looked closely, pored over the words, and thought through the connections.
The thought about loss during lent struck me as I was processing a hard decision to postpone a course I worked so hard to create. I have been in a relatively short season of surrender that reminds of me of how little I sacrifice though I desire to do much for God. My heart was crushed with grief; it still hurts. I finally had a break in tears and while making tea, I put my hands together like I was going to drink from them and said these words aloud:
Surely you have borne my griefs, and carried my sorrows…Isaiah 53:4a KJV (personalized)
I thought about the Bereans, and I thought about you and me. Is there lived loss and grief during lent as a means to sanctify our hearts again toward remembering the finished work of Jesus? It’s a new thought for me, and my answer is yes. What is your answer? Lent is a season of reflection, prayer, sacrifice, and service. It points us to consider the days leading up to the suffering of Christ, His death, our salvation, and our mission in the world.
Do we experience loss or grief to identify in a small way with Christ? If our social media timelines are any indication, there are tough times and tight places mixed in with the joy in faith. When I quoted Isaiah 53:4a to myself, I felt relief and I cannot say why. As I write, I wonder if it is not the certainty in the phrase. Surely. Surely He took on my griefs and carried my sorrows. Wow. Jesus Christ a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, his own plate full and he took on our griefs and sorrows too! Isn’t he wonderful? There is a truth deepening in my heart that lent may come with personal lessons of identification with Christ.
And the grief? It may not be only for a dearly departed loved one. It could be for a life we have yet to live due to fear, sabotage, or other harmful players. Our grief could be for the failure of a great idea; we put in the work and there were simply no takers. Our grief can be shared with those we do not know in other parts of the world. Or, our grief can be for people and things we missed — meetings, connections, opportunities. We can look at right now, be distracted in our faith, and become sad for not knowing what is ahead.
My beloved fellow Bereans, I pray that wherever our lent season reflections lead us, we will remember our nobility, our tenacity, and our fellowship with Jesus.
Beloved, if we just keep going, there is life in and beyond suffering. There is valuable treasure in our earthen vessels to discern. There is abundant life ahead. SELAH, surrender, and love to all.
Educator - Advocate - Writer
"In the darkness of night, I wait expectantly for understanding and knowledge for your people."
Rooted Grounded Fixed and Founded in the Love of God