Did you know that Lent parallels the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness without food, while being tempted by the devil? For Christians, Lent is 40 days we spend in a metaphorical wilderness, or a desert as the Bible often explains it, with dry mouths, empty bellies and open hearts. A common Lenten practice is to deprive ourselves of some of our favorite and seemingly most important things for spiritual benefit. This might be a favorite food, caffeine, video games, or, if you’re hard core, the Internet (it’s hard—I tried it one year). Many people also add something to their lives during Lent: a daily Bible reading or devotional, a regular act of service, or giving an extra 10% of their income or allowance to the Lord’s work.

Whatever it is that you subtract or add to your life, the point is that we spend these days in the desert, taking on extra prayer and meditation, giving up these luxuries and distractions with Jesus right beside us. We remember that He, too, spent 40 days in the desert, fasting, praying, meditating, and being tempted. We don’t do this perfectly: In fact, we are like the generations and generations of people who have fallen and failed, who have succumbed to the hunger, the thirst, the temptation that the desert brings. Jesus is the only one who did not fail. That’s important to remember as we journey for 40 days with Jesus in the desert of self-denial, temptation, and self-examination.

Grace & peace to you all on this journey.