“Remember the marvels the Lord has done.” – Ps. 105:5

Lent is often associated with austerity. When I do not fully reflect what to give up for Lent, I usually default to giving up meat, sweets, or some other vice as if Lent was a church sponsored diet program. All the while, I recognize these little sacrifices I embarked on at the beginning of Lent causes me to inordinately focus on that very thing I try to give up, and in the end it all crumbles to ashes. At church, it feels similarly grim. The statues are all covered, there are weekly Stations of the Cross (which is typically not thought of as a joyful remembrance), weekly abstinence from meat, and more reconciliation services.

During the times I forget that Lent can be a beautiful season to grow closer to Jesus by eliminating the things I am attached to, it’s easy for me to feel deprived and somber. So, I overlook the daily “marvels the Lord has done.” When I think of being “marveled” by something, what usually comes to mind is something grand or magnificent. Something that is grandiose or beautiful leaves an impression without any work on my end to recognize it.

Suppose instead if I worked a little to become more aware, attentive, and not focused on the ways I am without. Perhaps, I would recognize and remember the little and subtle ways the Lord has been marvelous. The workday that can feel tedious is enhanced by an unexpected encounter with a coworker. The traffic on the way home is brightened by the typically unnoticed sunset. The long line at the grocery store is an opportunity for gratitude for nourishment on the dinner table tonight.

Therefore, being marveled is not dependent on the thing itself but the sensitivity to see the inherent beauty in it. With various Lenten practices to choose from, maybe it starts with simply being marveled by all the ways, big and small, God has been, still is, and will always be good to me.

Lord Jesus, open my eyes that I may be marveled by your enduring goodness to me.

Michael Jamnongjit