Fast from Lies and Feast on Truth

Karen Herbert // Scripture: A Mother's Lens


February 27  

God always works in Lent. I know this in my heart, even if the work is not clear to me right away. Most years, I wend my way through the season in a state of cloudy befuddlement. What are you doing, God? How are you moving? Am I opening my heart to you? Am I changing as I am meant to? And when the time is right—sometimes much later—I see his hand upon my life. This year is different. For some reason, God decided to gift me ahead of time with unexpected clarity and—get this—a theme. I know. Crazy.

When I was meeting with a spiritual guide, the subject of Lent came up. In the midst of our conversation, one phrase rose to the surface and settled on us both: “Fast from lies and feast on truth.”

Fast from lies and feast on truth.

I thought, of course, of Jesus in the desert, tempted by Satan and countering his lies with the truth of God. And like the nerd I am, I looked it up in each of the synoptic Gospels. I walked away with two insights that my heart continues to ponder.

First, I noticed in Matthew and Luke that the lies of Satan are specifically oriented toward Jesus’ identity and vocation: If you are really God’s son . . . If you have truly been given authority . . . If you are really meant to reign over all this . . .

He’s tempting Jesus to disbelieve and cease to trust in God’s fatherhood, God’s truth, and God’s call: to forsake his sonship or to misuse it; to hand over his authority to the powers of darkness; to turn away from the difficulty and pain that taking up his reign will require.

The lies hit where it hurts: Who do you think you are? What makes you think that God called you? Wouldn’t a real vocation and a real son of God look different? This is obviously too hard; shouldn’t you take the easy way out?

I don’t know about you, but it all sounds pretty familiar to me. If I was really a daughter of God, I wouldn’t be so full of doubt and fear . . . I envisioned a holy life looking much different than mine, so I must be doing something wrong . . . This is all just too much for me . . . Surely I’m not the right person for this job . . . Can I really trust God—even with this?

Fast from lies and feast on truth.

It’s easy to feel alone and isolated amidst the barrage of lies—it’s one of the outcomes Satan is hoping for. And “wild beasts” is a very apt image. But even Jesus did not face Satan and the wild beasts alone.

The angels were ministering to him.

I believe the angels were reminding Jesus of God’s truth. I believe they pierced through the cacophony and took hold of Jesus’ heart. You are my beloved son with whom I am well pleased . . . I am asking you to take up true authority, which will not look like the authority of this world . . . I am calling you to difficult things, yet I am with you always, and my grace is sufficient to achieve them . . . 

This Lent, I am conscious of the lies. I must acknowledge them. I must be aware. And I must accept that part of my Christian vocation in this time of awaiting our Lord’s return is to strengthen myself in truth and continue to address the ever-present lies. 

However, my focus will be on the angels. I will look for them. I will strain my ears to catch their refrain. Because I know they are here. If I am in the desert, then angels are ministering to me.

They are ministering to you, too.

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  • I love this message! Thank you for sharing your insights and experience. Lies can torment us, and I am so grateful for this Lenten meditation which ministers to my heart. I think that makes you an angel! 😇

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