At the beginning of Lent, we mark our foreheads with a cross of ashes and we remember that we are mortal beings, burdened by sin.
Meditating on our mortality is an important element of the season. The Psalmist captures the tone poetically when he says:
Human life is but a puff of air.
As we journey closer and closer to the cross, we need to be ever mindful of our own limitations, lest we begin to delude ourselves into believing that we can become our own saviors.
In today’s Psalm, the great songwriter reminds us of the highs and lows of life. In their book, Psalms, Walter Brueggemann and William H. Bellinger, Jr point out that “Psalm 39 articulates hope and despair simultaneously.”
Isn’t this the great contradiction of Lent?
We are filled with despair as we ponder the condition of our own souls and the weight of our sins. We evaluate ourselves and see how far we’ve drifted from God’s center in our lives.
And yet, there is hope.
As we look to the horizon and see the rock of Golgotha looming and casting it’s long shadow, we know that there is an empty tomb beyond, flooded with the light of heaven.
Likewise, our souls can’t help but hope in these moments of despair as we meditate on Christ’s journey through these days.
What causes your soul to have hope? What causes your heart to despair? What messages of hope does the world around you need to hear? What causes the world around you to be in despair? How is God calling you to live in the light, even in the shadows of despair?