I am hearing lots of great stuff as people in our church observe the practice of Lent. Some are loving it. Some are hating it. But all seem to be effected by it, and in some form are challenged to invite more of God into their lives. That is great!
One perspective on Lent is how we are encouraged to come to God without all the stuff we normally depend on. In Mark 10, Jesus was walking through Jericho when a blind beggar named Bartimaeus heard He was nearby. He cries out for mercy, and the great Healer hears and stops. He invites Bartimaeus to come. And then there is this little line that Mark includes, tucked between calling and healing, that we generally overlook, "Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus."
Bartimaeus threw aside his coat. We might think of this as a minor detail, but I wonder about the significance of that coat to blind Bart. Remember, he is a beggar, and as such this may very well have been his only possession. I wonder how many long, cold nights Bart endured with only his coat to give him some warmth and security. I wonder how many days this coat was the only way he could define 'his space'- a place to sit and call home. I wonder how often this coat give him an inkling of safety against exposure to a harsh world.
And yet, in the presence of Jesus, the coat gets thrown aside. He stands all alone before Him, because his hope is in the Savior alone. And he is healed. Life was never the same.
I wonder aloud today- how many of us would grab the coat as we jumped up. "Jesus, I am here, but just in case you don't come through I have a back-up plan." Lent is one way in which we decide to let the coat lie. To lay aside the things that we trust in and at times find so indispensable. We come before Jesus, desperate for Him alone. What might your coat be? And could you, would you, leave it behind to go to Jesus?
May you find joy on your journey today, even if it's without a coat-