This time of year always feels like a mixture of anticipation, eagerness and impatience. Winter is al-most over, but spring hasn’t yet arrived. Daylight is increasing, but leaves and flowers aren’t quite ready to grow. Easter is coming, but we aren’t there yet. This is a season of patient waiting, of watchful anticipation.
In liturgical traditions, this season is known as Lent, the 40 days leading up to Easter. Some believers observe it with fasting or special penitence, and many churches use this time to remember Jesus’ journey to the cross. I am preaching from Matthew’s gospel, sharing stories from Jesus’ ministry as He walked resolutely to-ward His life-giving death.
I hope you will use this season to look back and look ahead. Look back at what Jesus did for you, re-membering His atoning death and rejoicing in His resurrection that opened the door of eternal life for all who believe. Also look ahead toward the work God has for you and further on toward the wonderful promise of ev-erlasting life through our Savior.
Our faith calls us to look both backward and forward, to the past and to the future. Too often we be-come fixated on one while forgetting the other. At times, we think only of what God did long ago, as though His power and purposes in this world were only real in the Bible. At other times, our present struggles and fears of the future overwhelm our faith so that we forget God’s past faithfulness.
The truth is, God never changes. He is just as powerful and gracious today as He was when Jesus went to the cross. God continues to bless and provide for His people today, just as He did long ago in Bible times. As we look to the future, we believe God is still at work among us and will one day bring this world to an end according to His perfect will, just as He created it according to His perfect design.
As we walk through this season of anticipation, as winter becomes spring and as we count the days un-til Easter, let’s remember and let’s trust. Remember what Jesus did. Remember all God has promised in His word. Remember the blessings He has given each of us. And trust that He still walks with us. Trust that His promises will all come true. Trust that He still hears our prayers and moves powerfully in response to our needs.
Faith remembers and trusts. Faith looks backward and forward.
In the weeks leading up to His death, Jesus told the disciples several times what was going to happen to Him. He told them He would be betrayed, that He would suffer and die, and that He would rise again. All through scripture, God prophetically prepared His people for what they would face. Jesus wanted His follow-ers to be ready when that terrible time came, so they could remember His words and trust that His suffering had a purpose.
God leads us in similar ways. When we face hardship or uncertainty, we can remember His word and His past faithfulness. We can look back on all He has done and promised. At the same time, we can trust God through the present and into the future. During hard days and fearful moments, we can have faith that God will provide again just as He always has.
Having a faith that remembers the past and trusts God into the future requires nurturing our souls with His word. Read and rejoice in what Jesus did for you at the cross. Fill your heart with the good promises of God’s word. Build your life on the solid foundation of Biblical truth. Then you will be able to trust Jesus with the needs of today and whatever comes tomorrow.