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What is Lent?

The current public image of Christianity is a happy, happy one complete with the promise that if you become a Christian, life will always go well for you. Even those who don't subscribe to the crassness of the health and wealth gospel (if you give God money He will give you back much more), are shocked if someone in the family gets sick or loses their job. Any disappointment with what we think God owes us provides grounds for walking away from the faith or at least is a justification to be mad at God.

Lent gives us a corrective to that view. Lent reminds us that there are things about the Christian life that are difficult and costly. It challenges us to say “no” to ourselves in minor areas of life to strengthen our spiritual muscles for larger challenges.

Lent proceeds Easter and commemorates the time that Jesus spent in the wilderness when he fasted for 40 days while tempted by the devil. C.S. Lewis talks about how we have no idea of the depth and pain of his temptation because we always give in to temptation. To help us understand this unique temptation, Lewis talks about how a temptation might be difficult to fight for an hour or so, but the longer it goes on, the more painful it can become. To ultimately resist for 40 days is unimaginable. Jesus did that for us.