Why So Sad?2 min read

Lent sure started early this year. Today is Ash Wednesday! I know; it took me by surprise too. As early as January, the Paczki donuts were already stocked on store shelves. I don’t know about you, but Lent can honestly make me feel lousy. Here in Michigan, the weather even cooperates with icy cold mornings covered in filthy gray snow. The whole six-week period looks about what Lent should look like.

Lent makes us keenly aware that we really are, according to Martin Luther, “poor miserable sinners” standing in the need of prayer every second that we draw breath. It reminds us that we need a Savior. Lent is laden with “woulda, coulda, shoulda” that we never seem able to achieve.

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This entire portion of the church year almost celebrates sadness and brokenness. But it is necessary. Because, when we as believers truly recognize our desperate need for a Savior, only then can we step away from our well-earned time-out corner of disgrace into the sunlight of His loving, open arms. We are forgiven!

Sadly, too many people miss this. Some spend their entire lives trying to be “good enough.” It’s like attempting to make a decent snowball out of March’s filthy gray snow. It’s pointless. Then there are those who absolutely couldn’t care less about God, heaven, hell, sin, forgiveness, or grace. They just don’t.  No one in these two groups will ever know the joy of being truly forgiven, or the ability to truly forgive others, if we who believe do not reach out and share the Good News with them.

During the season of Lent we are reminded that, because of our sins, we deserve death. Yet, we are also comforted because we have received forgiveness of those sins and eternal life through our Baptism. Let’s remember “our place.” We are in the place of receiving. We are freely handed a precious eternal gift bought with our Savior’s sacred blood. While we often consider giving something up for Lent to remind us of His precious sacrifice, isn’t it most critical to focus more on receiving? “It is finished” (John 19:30 ESV) by HIM … NOT by us … just FOR us.

During Lent, we hear the accounts of Judas, the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter’s denial, and even Mary’s tears. While there may be tears, confession, sorrow, and even righteous anger during Lent, we look forward to celebrating His majestic resurrection. It is the empty tomb on Easter morning bathed in sunlight that graciously blinds us with His endless joy. For “weeping may endure for a night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5b AMP). 

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Graphics by Linda Ekong/Michigan District – LCMS

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About the Author

Deborah Hauser is the Early Childhood Director at Peace, Saginaw.

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