Linger At The Cross
Or do you have no regard for the wealth of His kindness and tolerance and patience [in withholding His wrath]? Are you [actually] unaware or ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness leads you to repentance [that is, to change your inner self, your old way of thinking—seek His purpose for your life]? Romans 2:4 AMP
This past Wednesday was what many know as Ash Wednesday. Growing up in the Baptist denomination, I did not hear much about Ash Wednesday or Lent. I’m grateful to friends of different denominations that have helped me understand the significance and beauty of these forty weekdays leading up to Easter. This season calls us to pause, reflect and prepare as we remember the cross. It is intended to be a time of fasting and repentance, a turning away from our own ways that go against the ways of God.
Would you agree with me that we need a Lent season right here at the onset of 2021?
An intentional time to press pause and “linger at the cross.” This word, linger, deserves a bit of attention. Webster defines it like this: to stay in a place longer than necessary because of a reluctance to leave. Like wandering sheep, we are prone to quickly move on to the seemingly next best thing. Without lingering with Him, we will miss the moments of repentance. We prefer to nod our heads acknowledging that sin is sin and yet we go on our way with no change.
I have to believe that lingering in repentance for a full forty days will bring us to a place of abundant gratitude for the forgiveness of our sins through the cross. Let’s not be so quick to move on, but linger and feel the pain that our sin causes. Only then will we really celebrate the victory of the resurrection on Easter morn.
Oh, how we need the crook of the Shepherd's staff to pull us in and correct our path wanderings. I find that when I relinquish to His loving correction, the repentance and forgiveness of sin is so sweet. He leads us to repentance, and it truly is His kindness that leads us to repentance.(Rom. 2:4)
This morning as I pondered Lent, I determined with the Lord that I desired true repentance in my heart. No more robotic motions of reading the scripture, devotions and prayers, yet rising up unchanged. I joined the Psalmist in sincere prayer.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalms 139:23-24
As I sat in the quiet, I was moved to journal the things which came to mind. These moments were not to be quickly forgotten. These heart renderings were not to be jotted with ink on paper, but to be pressed into my heart forever changed. Some were personal sins, while others were sins of this world, this nation, this culture, of which I am a part.
Wrong Attitudes. Quick Judgements. Stiff Neck Rebellion.
Flesh Feeding. Self Pampering. Ugly Utterances. Negative Spewings.
Idol Worshipping. Evil Intents. Power Abuse. Jezebel Controls.
I so desire to linger here at the cross where there is complete forgiveness. There is no shame found here, only love, forgiveness and restoration. Thanksgiving fills my heart as I stare at the cross.
You are welcome to linger here with me. It is a beautiful place to be.
If we, God’s people will use these next six weeks to humble ourselves and pray and seek His face and turn from our wicked ways, we just may wake up to a new America. One believer at a time, lingering at the cross and arising changed by repentance.
"...if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14