April 1: The snare of the hunter, the deadly pestilence

by Ethan Mandel

Lenten Devotional 2011Over the past two millennia, human innovation has brought about miraculous technological advances. These technologies have improved our health, lengthened the duration of our lives, connected us with each other, and made daily life significantly more convenient. As a result, one would expect that the "race" Paul refers to in today’s epistle would have become considerably easier to compete in. A quick glance at today’s newspaper, however, will quickly dispel any illusions you may have.

To be completely honest, the constant daily reminder of the brokenness of mankind — and the dire need for man’s reconciliation with God — can be very disheartening. A few years ago, in a moment of frustration, I even decided to take a sojourn from the 24-hour news cycle that dominates many of our lives, cutting myself off from TV, newspapers and the Internet. After returning from my media holiday, I felt much more at peace with myself, albeit temporarily. But at the same time, it became clearer than ever how difficult it is to escape from the realities of the fractured world we live in.

Fortunately, for those of us who put our trust in the Lord our God instead of the ways of man, we have been given a great reassurance. Like the psalmist says, in giving his angels charge over us, "he shall deliver us from the snare of the hunter and from the deadly pestilence." This Lent, if only each of us would fully take refuge in God and allow ourselves to be transformed by his saving grace, perhaps the world might not seem so broken after all.

Genesis 47:1-26
Psalms 88, 91, 92
1 Corinthians 9:16-27
Mark 6:47-56

Later this month, Ethan will be representing the Church of the Ascension on a pilgrimage to the Diocese of Central Tanganyika in Tanzania, bringing gifts and greetings to the church in Gawaye. Learn more and learn how you can help.