If you have no opposition to gleaning meaning from popular music (and, actually, even if you do), please search for the song “Something to Believe In” by Parachute (it’s on YouTube). Read the readings and then listen to the song. I’ll wait . . .
Lent can have a bad reputation. During this season, we confront the darkest corners of our soul’s subconscious and the most unsettling questions about our relationship with God, our feelings of abandonment by God, and of our own sin. Where was God when I needed Him? Why does She allow such suffering and wretchedness in the world? Will I be sent to Hell when I die? The psalmist certainly seems to be having the exact same inner agonizing over these.
The psalmist had the answer as do we, but chances are that we do not like it. Our rationality is wholly insufficient and we bear some responsibility for the situation. The idolaters in Jeremiah fled God when times got rough, trying to manufacture their own solutions. Small wonder Jeremiah said, “Everyone is stupid and without knowledge”—probably because they (like us, admit it) could not accept “that the way of human beings is not in their control; that mortals as they walk cannot direct their steps.” We sin constantly, bless our hearts, occasionally to the point that God needs to knock a bit of sense back into us. God is mother hen and good shepherd—and hens peck and shepherds chase, but they guide, protect, and nurture—never abandoning and always loving.
Listen to Jesus: it is our belief in him that reveals to us the truth that sets us free from our own sin. Listen to Paul: even with sin multiplying, the grace of God—eternally, unconditionally available, but requiring that you believe—matches and exceeds it. The answer is not an explanation, something reducible to our reason; it is an action—the simple act of believing, letting our feet float off the ground if you will. Give that song another listen—and don’t stop believing.