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Lenten Devotional 3/26/2024

Good Afternoon! Today’s devotional comes from Hanna Newcomer Silva. Hanna is the Associate Director of TCU Wesley and is also a student at Brite Divinity School working on her Master of Divinity. Prior to coming to TCU, she served as a Pastoral Intern at the Tarleton Wesley Foundation for three years and the Director of Youth Ministries at FUMC Mineral Wells for six years. Hanna is passionate about the student experience, mental health and wellness, and developing young Christian leaders. She is a welcomed addition to the staff of TCU Wesley, and TCU’s community at large. Enjoy today’s Lenten devotional, and may the peace, grace, love, and hope of God encourage and comfort you this Holy Week.

Hebrews 12:12-14

 So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weakened knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet, so that those who are weak and lame will not fall, but become strong. Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; for without holiness, no one will see the Lord.

These few verses from the twelfth chapter of Hebrews come from a passage about discipline. Frequently when we think of discipline, our brains default to understanding the term as a punitive function, but discipline can also mean to practice diligence, to be determined, and to endure. It doesn’t take reading the bible to know that being human comes with experiencing hardships, especially in the world of rigorous academia.

Whether it’s all your tests lining up in the span of one week, an internship that feels impossible to acquire, relationships that are uncomfortable in their adaptation to a new season of life, or trying to figure out where and with whom you’ll be living next year, college life is stressful. The good news is that God is with us in these times of stress, even when our spirit feels exacerbated. God speaks to us through the scriptures reminding us that weakness does not equate to brokenness and tiredness does not equate to disuse.

The scripture from Hebrews reminds us that feeling exhausted and weak does not mean we are broken or wrong, but that we are human and we need rest. The idea that we would need to “re-strengthen” our grip actually tells us that sometimes we need to set something down AND it is okay! Sometimes we need to give our body rest. That doesn’t mean we have lost or that we are giving up. It simply means we want to keep going and we know that in order to keep going, we have to take care of ourselves, we have to prepare our body. Faith takes care and preparation too.

The Lenten season is about taking time to retrain ourselves to rely on God, rather than ourselves and the world around us. It gives us an opportunity to realize our humanity, to acknowledge our weakness and need for rest, before continuing onward, and to search for both rest and renewed strength in Jesus. Building an enduring faith requires a little discipline stretching our faith muscles by trusting God even when it feels hard and practicing faithful rest. That can be hard when we exist in a world where we are told to perform at 100% productivity all the time. God does not expect perfection from us and God doesn’t desire performance. God desires a true, vulnerable relationship where we trust God’s ability to provide for us, especially in the times of stress and uncertainty.

Let us pray.

 Dear God, thank you for creating me to be perfectly unique with my own strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes it is hard to feel like I don’t have what it takes or that I’m not doing enough, but you see me and are with me in the struggle. Help me to build an enduring faith, knowing that in times of stress and hardship, it is okay to need rest and to need help. God, help me to remember that you are always with me and want to help me! Thank you for giving me the gift of grace and love when I fail to offer it to myself and to others. In being loved by You, help me to better understand these gifts so I can learn to be gracious and loving to all as You are to me.




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