For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. - John 3:16

Each year the Church invites us to brave into the wilderness with Jesus. Lent is a season reminding us to keep coming back to the presence of God and cultivating practices nurturing our awareness of His love and mercy in our restlessness. As we walk towards the halfway mark in our Lenten journey, today’s gospel calls us to redirect our focus towards God. Have I put God in the forefront of my mind, thoughts, decisions, and actions lately? Do I feel consumed by my shortcomings, sins, guilts, preoccupations, or worries? Can I genuinely trust that His love and grace is sufficient for me?

My first words nearly every morning are, “Jesus, be with me.” When I position myself to listen and look at Him in the most vulnerable part of my day, I am intentionally and gently acknowledging my friendship and need for Him. Rather than chasing after the myriad of things clamoring for my attention, I can see Him clearer as He enters into the still, small minutes of my day. He continuously calls me back to my senses and what indeed makes my heart come alive. 

Meeting Him requires me to quiet my insides enough to hear and respond. In the shadows and solitude of my own heart, I am learning to confront the varying voices of my thoughts. I realize it is a daily choice and constant battle to cling on to words of love and silence out fear. With the accompaniment of Jesus and trusted companions along the way, I can become more attentive to God’s love and a lifestyle which sheds more light on truth, gratitude, and hope.

Author Henri Nouwen says, ‘The farther I run away from the place God dwells, the less I can hear the voice that calls me the Beloved, and the less I hear that voice, the more entangled I become in the manipulations and power games of the world.” Every single minute of our day is available for us to feel His arm resting around us and softly awakening us. His beauty is close and disruptively near. Although life may be difficult and uncomfortable to endure at times, I understand it is not impossible with God. He and I can do hard things together. He guides me in resisting the overwhelming desire to quit, to save myself from myself. God is not just with me but in me.

Lord, may Your grace be sufficient for me.

Tam Lontok