The Only Way Out is Through (A Lenten Reflection)

(I decided to share some meditations I wrote for Chalice Press a few years ago for their Lenten Meditation book. Here’s hoping these help guide you through this time of reflection, shadow and wrestling with the complexities of mortality.)

A day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness!

-Joel 2:2

Who in their right mind looks forward to Lent? Seven weeks of preparation to lead up to Good Friday hardly seems like an enjoyable way to spend our time.

Why not work on those New Year’s resolutions that have already been slipping instead? How about some more quality time with the family? What good, after all, can come from dwelling on darkness and death for more than forty days?

How about we all just agree to skip Lent this year and just get back together on Easter, okay?

Easter is the good part, really. We just endure Good Friday, but honestly, we’d rather find a loophole if we could to get around it. Who doesn’t like cute new spring dresses, a joyful Easter celebration and the hope that comes with new life, raised from the still-smoldering ashes of death?

But without death, there can be no resurrection.

Without a desolate winter, spring loses its context. Without sorrow, joy lacks its poignancy. Without pain, we cannot embrace healing.

The light will come soon, but for now, live with the darkness. Consider the shadow times of Lent as a necessary backdrop to offset the brilliance of the hope yet to come.

Like the rest of life, if we endure the next few weeks while only focusing on one day in the distance, we look back and find the joy has come at too great of a cost. Instead, let’s embrace the struggle together.

The only way out of the darkness is to walk through it, one step at a time.

Eternal light, I do not ask you to dispel the darkness, but rather to guide me through it as my companion, my hope and my strength. 

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About Christian Piatt

Christian Piatt is the creator and editor of BANNED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BIBLE and BANNED QUESTIONS ABOUT JESUS. He has a memoir on faith, family and parenting called PREGMANCY: A Dad, a Little Dude and a Due Date, and Hachette published his first hardcover book, "postChristian: What's left? Can we fix it? Do we care?" in 2014. His first novel, "Blood Doctrine," has been optioned by a Hollywood production company for a possible TV series.

Christian is the cofounder and cohost of the Homebrewed CultureCast, a podcast about popular culture, current events and spirituality that has a weekly audience of 25,000 people (

Preorder Christian's next book, "Not That Kind of Christian: Loving God without being an a**hole," at

For more information about Christian, visit, or find him on Twitter ( or Facebook.

  • Carolyn Thomas
  • Chad

    Good stuff, Christian! Thanks for sharing.