When I read the daily devotions, if the First Reading is from the Old Testament, I admittedly tend to skim the reading—"iniquity . . . offer bullocks . . . Assyria"—and jump right to the Gospel. However, today these words caught my attention—". . . In you the orphan finds compassion . . . I will heal their defection, says the Lord, I will love them freely." (Hosea 14:4-5) That portrays a powerful image of compassion, healing, and Fatherly love.
In a previous devotion I shared that it was easy for me to imagine God as the Master Creator or a just Judge, but I still had trouble picturing Him as a “dad.” I wanted to know in my heart, and not just my head, that God loved me as a precious daughter. I was thinking about this as I went to the chapel to pray and write. I prayed and an hour later, I closed my notebook. I felt at peace but wrote nothing.
I drove home and the song “Call My Name” from the band Third Day came on and it moved me. I heard, “Call my name/ Say it now/ I want you to never doubt/ The love I have for you is so alive.”
Whoa. Something inside me was breaking. I could feel the wall that kept God at arm’s length start to crumble. I rolled into my driveway, parked the car, and sat as I pictured God the Father standing there with open arms. He didn’t have a look of judgment or reproach on His face. He had a look of Fatherly love that said, I’ve been waiting for this. Come, my daughter.
And I lost it. A flood gate of tears poured out that I didn’t even know I had.
I share this because this is the essence of Lent. It goes beyond giving things up and denying yourself. As the Gospel says, there is more than just "burnt offerings and sacrifices." (Mark 12:33) Lent is a time for reflection, repentance, and reconciliation. It is a time to return to God Our Father and be healed from the things that stop us from loving Him with all our heart, all our mind, and all our strength.
Sometimes God will use something completely unexpected to nudge us and call us back to Him. Be open and receptive to His call. There is healing waiting for you.
Bobbi Rol is a wife, mama and blogger living on the Monterey Bay in CA with her husband, teen daughter, and three rambunctious boys. When she is not dodging light sabers or stepping on Legos, she can be found outside with her family, catching a late night movie, or decorating her planner. You can find out more about her here.