But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
If I was asked about the most holy moments or those of deep faith significance, I would likely think of my confirmation, my ordination, various installation services, special Christmas Eves and Easters, and baptisms. Without deeper reflection, I would be unlikely to recall moments of everyday grace offered to me, times I withheld my anger at a loved one, or times I had the opportunity to help a stranger in need. And yet, Lent is a time for deeper reflection, and those moments are holy too.
Recently, a friend of mine watched a movie with her young daughter. The movie realistically portrayed the frustrations between a daughter, mother, and grandmother. It distressed my friend’s daughter to see that conflict. But my friend took that learning moment and explained that sometimes moms and daughters do have feelings like that and have to find healthy ways to express them and work through them together. Her daughter was thoughtful and said it was ok if they argue because, “God holds mommy back from not loving me even though she’s mad.” My friend was careful in her response, saying that being close with God helps her to realize being mad will be temporary but that the love will always be there. A moment of curiosity and concern became a holy moment of learning.
Although Lent is only a few weeks, the deeper reflection is valuable. We are able to see lessons like this and incorporate them into daily living. God can indeed help us freely love and hold back our temporary anger. A closer walk, what we seek in this holy season, helps us be people of deeper love and a more holy daily life through ordinary moments and extraordinary faith. The next time you feel anger rising within you as you argue with a loved one, perhaps you can quietly call on God to help you hold back your temporary feelings for the sake of an important relationship.