I have always been very blessed with really good health. I am so grateful. But two weekends ago I had a cold. I’m not talking just an average cold; I’m talking an epic cold where my nose flowed like a river all night long. Before this epic cold I’ve never had to get up to blow my nose in the middle of the night. And don’t get me started on sleep. There was none.
Maybe it’s because I don’t get sick often and I’m just a baby (actually I’m sure that’s what it is), but I felt like I was going to die. And while I laid there thinking about how miserable I felt and how I might possibly be the first person to die from the common cold, I realized how nothing else in the world – and I mean nothing – mattered except for getting better.
I’ve never officially observed Lent, but this year I’m fasting from sugar for 40 days (be glad you don’t live with me!). As I deny myself sugar each day in remembrance of how Jesus denied His very holiness for me, I know that like when I was sick and nothing else mattered but getting well, eating sugar will probably still really matter to me. I want to be able to say that for the next 40 days when I pass by the Cadbury eggs or Peeps or Peanut Butter Cup eggs or Robin eggs in the grocery store I will think about Jesus and my craving will be quenched, that the Cross is all I’ll think about and meditate on – but my flesh simply adores sugar too much and sometimes more than God.
One day, however, the Cross will be all that matters. It will all that matters to me, and it will be all that matters to you. To be exact, no matter what religion or lack thereof a person ascribes herself to, eventually the Cross becomes all that matters to every human being (Romans 14:11). When each of us stands face-to-face with Jesus nothing else that has ever been, and nothing that is to be, will be a thought in our minds. All that will matter is the Cross and the hope to hear a few words, “Well done, good and faithful servant (Matthew 25:21).”
Right now it seems like the things of this world matter. Whether it’s healing from a cold or and getting a sugar fix or something more life-changing. We obsess on them, we fret over them, we strive for them. All of our attention is on these things – things that will pass away.
In Luke 16 Jesus tells a story of a rich man. Basically this rich man did not go to heaven when he died. Instead he went to hell. And there he said, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame” (Matthew 16:24). All that mattered to him was a short lived taste of water to relieve his tongue. And the reality that he was not spending eternity in heaven.
What if Jesus was all that mattered in our lives now? What would it look like if I thought about Jesus as much as I thought about healing? What would it look like if I thought about Jesus more than Easter candy? What if I thought about Jesus more than analyzing my friends’ perceived perfect life on Facebook? What if I thought about Jesus more than having imaginary conversations with people I don’t like? What if thought more about Jesus than the life I hope to have one day?
What if Jesus was all that mattered?
This Lenten season let’s make Jesus all that matters. Every time your circumstances, your fears, your singleness, your illness, your goals, your dreams, your whatever begins to overwhelm your thoughts simply stop. In your mind picture the Cross. Then say in your mind, “Jesus”. That’s all it takes. He’s all that matters.