I grew up back East and have been through my share of ferocious thunderstorms and hurricanes. Even so, I was unnerved by the storm that roared through the neighborhood Monday morning. Having become accustomed to a placid climate, I was shaken by the violence of the wind. And, in what may be a sign that I am finally a Californian, I did think “earthquake” when the first crash of thunder made the windows rattle in their panes. Throughout, I prayed mightily that the lights would stay on and no major damage would occur.

But the next morning, driving east on the 10, the view of the mountains took my breath away. The snow on the peaks is heavier than I can remember seeing in many years, and the air was so clear that it made the view seem unreal. The storm had been awful, but what clarity it had left behind! I longed to pull over and just stare, but I knew the CHP would frown on that choice. Instead, I marveled at the unexpected gift, and realized this is another reason to love Lent: It is a season of gratitude.

Certainly, our Lenten walk reminds us of the number of times the storms of life have beaten us down and we have succumbed, in the moment, to fear, doubt, and anger. But Lent also points us toward Easter, reminding us of the beauty that displaces despair, of the understanding that pushes out confusion, of the love which triumphs over all. The season reminds of us how hard Jesus fought for us, and how blessed we are that He continues to fight for us, to stand by us, and to love us.

Let us love Lent for its lessons of gratitude. Let us give thanks for trials and for deliverance, for challenges and solutions, for the journey and for its conclusion. Let us make the time along our Lenten journey to give thanks to the Lord and to share with those around us how grateful we are to be redeemed by a Savior who can calm any storm.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circum-stances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.”

Thessalonians 5:16-23