“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” – the words I heard as ash fell and sprinkled down my face. Being likened to the tiny dust particles I felt tickle my nose and cheeks is sobering for two reasons. I am reminded that God breathed life into the earth and made man – made me. And that like, “The grass withers, the flower fades,” we will all return to the earth one day.
“The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass.” –Isaiah 40:7-8
Lent is a time to repent of our sin, be awakened to our humanity and desperate need of a Savior, and to fast and hunger for righteousness sake. It is a time to remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return — to remember your frame, your Savior, and draw near.
There is something beautiful about acknowledging your humanness. Lent offers us an invitation to not only acknowledge but embrace our need and lowly state. It beckons us into a posture of humility and desperate dependence the world constantly pressures us to cover up and hide. But for your own sake this Lent, I would encourage you not shy away from it, and not to turn your face away from the One who sees all of you. Be intentional to expose yourself to God in this season – the good, the bad and the ugly. Repent of all his gracious light will expose. He can take all your vulnerability, and even more so, he desires it. Settle into the reality that you are so insanely small and mortal, yet unwaveringly and deeply seen and cared for by the One who breathes life into dust.
If you haven’t yet spent any time thinking about or partaking in the season of Lent, I would exhort you to do so. Take some time to process your brokenness, frailty, and need of a savior. Take time to embrace that you are dust and allow yourself to be weak. Really feel your need and press into it. Through the act of self-examination, though it be painful at times, you will find a patient, merciful Father waiting for you on the other side – ready to love, redeem and save.
Easter is right around the corner, and we want to be those who celebrate well the finished work of the cross. Your Easter celebration will be vibrantly enriched if you take advantage of this Lenten season, I can promise you that. My prayer is that you would be met by the Father of lights and that he would far exceed your expectation of what is good.
May this plea from David be the prayer of our hearts in these days:
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.
Deliver me from death, O God,
you who are God my Savior,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.
Feel free to utilize this song in further meditation and prayer – it’s a good one:
Jon Foreman – “White As Snow” © Lowercase People Records Website: http://www.jonforeman.com