God so loved the world that he sent His only Son . . . not to condemn but to save. There is a hidden question here: What are we saved from? And do we really want to be saved? Don’t be too quick to answer. Pray first. “God show me what salvation means for me?”
First, we may not feel that we need to be saved from anything. Perhaps we’ve got it pretty good and are satisfied. God becomes something of a background presence.
Or perhaps we may be in need, but feel that God isn’t answering our prayer to be saved from that need. It takes faith believe in God’s love, even when we don’t feel it. Faith gives rise to hope, that God will fulfill his promises in ways that are better than we could humanly expect.
God may not be delivering us from some difficulty because he seeks to deliver us through that difficulty for something greater — ultimately, eternal and infinitely loving union with him.
In John’s Gospel, Jesus begins his work by purifying the Temple, God’s house. Lent is the time we undertake the task of purifying ourselves too, because we too are God’s House. Does that sound a little strange?
God lives in us for one reason only: the Lover wants to be intimately united with His beloved. As God’s beloved, we need not purify ourselves by doing violence to ourselves, as Jesus did in driving the money changers and merchants from the Temple of old.
Jesus is the only one who can purify us. In fact, he has already done so by his cross and resurrection. All we have to do is turn to him with trust that he wants to remove everything that stands in the way of God’s love for us.
When you pray, don’t run away from your sins and unworthiness. Instead, put the things you are sorrow for and embarrassed about into his hands. He will forgive and heal you, because he loves you.