The Merriam -Webster Dictionary has many definitions, one being
"The act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone."
Examples of SACRIFICE
- The war required everyone to make sacrifices.
- No sacrifice is too great when it comes to her children.
- He made many personal sacrifices to provide help to the city's homeless people.
- The runner went to second base on a sacrifice.
Observing Lent for many believers, means giving up, or sacrificing, something they enjoy or love for a period of time. I had never tried this tradition before and this year I felt compelled to see how it may help me grow in my understanding of the Easter story and in my relationship with the Lord. Well, I had no idea what lie ahead for me, as I began this journey, a little less than 2 weeks ago.
What I gave up - Being my first experience with this, I decided to go simple, and give up my favorite drink, vanilla chai latte' for 40 days.
I thought it would be fairly simple, but it hasn't been.
I thought it would be nice to show I could give something like tea, up and it would bring me closer to God. But, God had something different for me in mind...
The physical and emotional pain and hurt I have struggled through may seem tiny, compared to the suffering of many martyrs and in the life and death of Christ, Himself, but for me, it has had a monumental impact!
This past week was a really rough one...I think God may have planned it that way as a part of my lesson during Lent.
He was saying, "Ann, you think giving up tea for 40 days is a sacrifice? You have no idea what sacrifice REALLY is, until you feel physical pain, too."
So, I have been having some really painful digestive issues, which has been an issue for me on and off for several years. (I have seen doctors, but not had a diagnosis. I had my gall bladder removed 5 years ago, and that may be part of the issue.)
Then He said, "You also don't really understand sacrifice, until you feel the pain of rejection...even by those who are closest to you."
The past few weeks, I have been hurt emotionally by the actions of some close family members.
With all the stress of these things around me, I sought relief through prayer and reading Scripture, but there was little relief. I pleaded with God, but felt like I wasn't being heard.
Then, when I felt like I was at the end of my rope, I turned back to the one earthly thing that have given me relief (as temporary as it is)...my vanilla chai latte'. I had every excuse in the book for my reasoning to doing what I had wanted to NOT do for Lent, but ultimately, I gave in. I felt awful for giving in, on top of the fact that my physical ailment and emotional state were/are still there. I guess that's why it's been so difficult also for me to not be so hard on myself.
I had been so disappointed in myself, as I was reminded of how difficult it was for Jesus, when He went through so many trials, temptations, and sufferings.
Today, though, I was given some real encouragement during our church service!.
The theme was: Into Thin Air - "God is calling each of us to take a step of faith towards Him. We can have confidence that despite the difficulties and uncertainties of the journey, He is there for us. There is no better time than right now to stop, consider the moment, and move beyond our fears and failures to follow Him as he leads us Into Thin Air."
Yes, He calls us to sacrifice and obey:
Psalms 51:17 NLT
The sacrifice You desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
We often wrestle with the reasons behind our perpetual consumption. When we decide to relinquish that thing that fails to truly satisfy, we come face-to-face with some tough questions.
Can we believe Jesus when he says, "People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God"?
How can we make room for the Savior in our buried and burdened lives?
Can we grasp the reality of Good Friday and live within its irony?
Paul said some very wise words, as he experienced some of the very same setbacks and shortcomings