Several years ago I met June, a woman whose life had been marked by pain – the pain of abuse, loss, addiction, heartache and rejection. Her reflection on her life led her to one conclusion: that God is with us even when it appears He is a million miles away.
The most powerful Scriptures for her were the stories of Christ's death and resurrection that we will reflect on in a few days' time. She saw in the ancient stories of Holy Week her own story being played out. Every moment of betrayal, rejection, hurt and pain could be found there. She began to recognise that there wasn't a moment in her life when the Lord had not been present.
I often think Lent is a time that challenges us to reflect on the pain in our own lives that we would rather run away from. It is a time when we can recognise the truth that whatever we might go through, God is not separate from the mess but in the midst of it. The pain and confusion that are so often in our lives can either make us stronger, more rounded people, or make us bitter victims. Lent enables us to take time to reflect on our lives and let go of those things that make us less than we might be. It is a time when we can focus on our search for God in the midst of the mess of our lives.
It is not an easy thing to do but faith is about being real and, in the midst of reality, learning how to trust and hope in a God who has walked the same journey we walk ... a God who is with us, a God who shows us that after every Good Friday, comes Easter Day. There is just a short time left in this season. Use it wisely. Reflect on your life. Don't run away but know that in everything that has happened to you, God is present. He will bring life out of each death you have experienced if you allow Him the space and time to do that.