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Lent Devotional 31 – Turn Around

“And if I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ but they then turn away from their sin and do what is just and right— if they give back what they took in pledge for a loan, return what they have stolen, follow the decrees that give life, and do no evil—that person will surely live; they will not die. None of the sins that person has committed will be remembered against them. They have done what is just and right; they will surely live. ~ Ezekiel 33:14-16


I was in the middle of 135 acres of forest, on a silent personal retreat and I was lost physically and spiritually. In the fall of 2016 I went to Trappist, Kentucky (near New Haven) to the Abbey of Gethsemani monastery to devote myself to prayer and meditation for the week. I chose this particular place because it was the home of a spiritual mentor of mine (who died before I was born) by the name of Thomas Merton. It was a wonderful time roaming the same halls Merton and so many other monks roamed and walking the trails they undoubtedly traversed while deep in prayer. Speaking of trails. The attending monk gave me a trail map and the following day I felt confident in hiking and so I found my way to the edge of the property on a knob overlooking the Kentucky landscape. As I went to the bottom of the knob the trail went in three directions but the map only indicated two. I took the wrong one and in the process became completely lost. I remember thinking to myself: “I am struggling spiritually and now I am struggling physically.” Long story short, I turned back and went a different direction and found some teenagers mudding in a jeep who pointed me in the right direction.

“Turn away from their sin.” Ezekiel’s language is emphatically clear yet innately difficult. The simple solution to their generation long dilemma is an about-face lifestyle change. Think about how long the people have tried to do things their own way assuming that their religious practices and ways of life were the answer. God doesn’t say, “I don’t want any part of you. If you commit to change, I don’t care. Me and you? We’re done!” No. Our God looks at our plight and says, “All you have to do is let me in and give up the race. Trust that I will provide for you and listen to my words and obey my commands.” So simple yet so profound. You and I have work to do don’t we? May you turn about and finally repent from your egotistical disposition and find the wherewithal to let God in.

Prayer: Infinite Father where do we start? We know where to go but are fearful of what to do. If we take the first step will you push us? If we make the first climb will you pull us up? Amen.

Meditation Questions:

  1. What spoke to you from today’s devotional and why? Pay particular attention to certain words or phrases that seem to repeat themselves in your mind.
  2. What have you not turned from in your spiritual walk with God?