Change Ain’t Easy — Murl Baker Lenten devotional for March 11, 2022

Read Joel 2:12-17:

Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing. Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord, your God? Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people. Sanctify the congregation; assemble the aged; gather the children, even infants at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her canopy. Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep. Let them say, “Spare your people, O Lord, and do not make your heritage a mockery, a byword among the nations. Why should it be said among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’”

Prayer: Jesus, bring us back to You. Give us a repentant heart and strengthen our efforts to change our living.

In the reading from Joel, the Prophet calls for his people to return to the Lord, a cry for repentance. He describes actions that would show the people’s return: individual behaviors such as fasting, wailing, tearing one’s clothes, expressing grief, sadness.   Followed by sacrifices that would put a serious dent in any family’s herd. What are some of the individual behaviors in our lives that show a whole-hearted “return to God”?

Behavioral change is difficult to start and even more difficult to sustain. Oft-times our individual efforts flag and falter. Friends and family are important resources for sustaining change in our lives.