Do you know how to linger well? That’s probably not a question you’ve been asked on a regular basis. If you asked me that question, I’d have to answer no.

With my Type-A checklist mentality, I constantly think ahead and look forward—to the time when the list is complete, when I get to relax, when I get to enjoy all that lies ahead. I often catch myself wondering why life isn’t easier (i.e., all about relaxing). Yet I realize that is a thought that the world has impressed upon me. After all, history proves that life is anything but easy.

Consider Abraham’s dilemma after God called Him to sacrifice his only son, whom he had waited over 100 years to hold. Reflect on Moses’s having to face Pharaoh day after day and having to plead with him to let the Israelites go and worship their Lord. And Mary, a teenager, being called upon to give birth to the Savior of the world. Each of these situations ended happily, and I find that’s where my focus wants to stray.

I don’t enjoy lingering with Abraham at the altar, waiting out the plagues with Moses, or standing beside Mary as she tells people that she is unwed and pregnant with Someone else’s child. Instead, I want to skip ahead to the happy endings: God provides a ram, in lieu of Isaac, for Abraham’s sacrifice; God softens Pharaoh’s heart and convinces him to allow the Israelites to leave Egypt; and God protects and provides for Mary as she gives birth to the Savior of the world in a humble stable.

And now, during Lent, I want to skip ahead to Resurrection Sunday. The point where the women found the empty tomb. And Jesus had risen, yes risen INDEED!

But we’re not there. We’re merely in the first week of Lent. So why am I avoiding this time?

As I was thinking about this, I came across a quote from a pastor named Ken Collins who said, “We avoid Lent and Holy Week because it isn’t a happy and uplifting time—but to be honest, neither is most of life.” He also said, “By observing the forty days of Lent, the individual Christian imitates Jesus’[s] withdrawal into the wilderness for forty days.”

Hmmm. Sounds like a time to be still. To listen. To refocus. None of which I’m all that good at. Maybe that explains my desire to leap ahead and start the celebratory singing of “He Arose.”

But when I look back at history, I see that God has a track record of providing for His people in the desert. During the forty years that the Israelites spent in the desert, their clothes did not wear out nor did the sandals on their feet. And they had water and food to sustain them.

So with that in mind, I want to continue to reflect on God’s faithfulness and give lingering a try. Right here in the desert. Will you join me?