A room left with memories intact, a home that now reminds us of what we have lost, our phones with so many photographs and videos that bring tears and smiles. As we begin our Lenten journey, many are confronted by the challenges of the loss of someone we loved. How do we focus on celebrating Easter when our loss can be so consuming? The Lenten season is an opportunity to reflect; marked as a time of fasting and of self-denial, it is a time to remember our connection to Christ and His journey toward our Resurrection. We enter the desert with Him to reaffirm our relationship with God.
The devastating loss of someone we love is like entering your own personal desert – one you may not want to journey through. It is in these moments of despair that we must remember that we are walking in the footsteps of Christ. His journey toward the Cross guides us through the darkness toward the promise fulfilled on that first Easter morning.
God sent His only son to become fully human – to know, and feel, and experience humanity in all its forms, including great suffering. However, Jesus was not sent to suffer in vain, but to help us grow closer to God through our suffering. When you reflect on Christ’s life starting with His 40 days in the desert through the time He was nailed to the cross, you’ll find that His journey was filled with great pain. He could have questioned God’s will, but He instead accepted it fully, knowing that God’s plan is perfect. One need only look to the empty tomb as a sign of this truth. We must trust in the Lord just as Jesus did. While we will endure much suffering in this world, we cannot let that overshadow what we believe; that our souls will be welcomed into paradise.
During this Lenten season, I encourage you to bask in God’s love. Bring your suffering to Him. Understand that the suffering you experience on this earth is preparing you for the hope of eternal life with God in paradise. Death is not the end.