Forty days of telling Jesus thanks. That's my view of the Lenten Season.
What did Jesus think about during those last forty days he walked this earth? What would you think about if you knew you only had forty days to live and that you were going to die in agony? That your last several hours you would undergo mockery, scorging, hunger, thirst--pain so horrific that it's good the time was short.
I don't know about you, but I've never had anxiety so severe that I've sweat blood. Have you? Hemotidrosis is extremely rare, but it does occur. There are mental and physical causes where it can happen repetitively, but those are even rarer. Acute fear and intense mental contemplation cause most instances.
What, Jesus afraid? Undergoing intense mental contemplation? Oh, yeah, I think so. The Bible says He was tempted in every way we have been. To me, that means He was capable of being panic-stricken.
I wonder how badly he wanted to run away. Bravery isn't the lack of being afraid--it's the strength to press on to your goal even when you are terrified. And His goal was to save lives. Millions of them. Perhaps billions or even trillions.
In a Bible study once, the leader of the study asked if I would be able to sacrifice my son to save others. That was just before the war with Iraq seemed imminent. I thought hard for a few moments.
"If I thought that sacrificing him would save thousands of others, yes." At great cost, with innumerable tears, in great agony. I love my kids. Those of you who have children know what I mean. I would gladly lay down my life to save theirs.
And wasn't that what God did? Jesus was fully God as well as being fully human, remember.
That's why I give up something I enjoy during the forty days of Lent. Chocolate. Sugar. Computer games. And I substitute something to do instead of the computer games, spend the time in prayer that I would have spent digging out a treat, eat only healthy foods, read the Bible a little longer.
I give so little back to Him compared to what He has given. This special season of preparation for Easter, I will give Him a more of myself.