When I was a kid, I remember Christmas afternoons after everyone left. We had spent the better part of the previous 24 hours “celebrating” Christmas with food, singing, and PRESENTS…OH!!! The PRESENTS! Aunts, uncles, cousins and, best of all, grandparents, would all gather to shower the kids…there were only three of us…with tons of gifts! SUCH fun!
Yet somehow, after the last car drove away and the house was suddenly quiet except for the sound of my mom cleaning up in the kitchen (and griping about how no one helped with the clean up!), I would invariably find myself under the Christmas tree for a final snoop…to make SURE that no more presents were hiding there under the thick foliage. After all, I reasoned…this couldn’t POSSIBLY be all there was!
Perhaps you have experienced a child (hopefully not one of your own), upon opening all the packages on Christmas Day, turning to you or to another adult lamenting incredulously, “Is this all there is?”
At the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry, the apostles and other disciples of Jesus sort of had a similar view…surely Jesus was going to do something more. They all expected him to top all the miracles he had previously done. He had fed the multitudes and raised the dead, so surely he would conquer the Romans and begin an earthly kingdom! Now would be a good time!
How surprised they were when, at the height of Jesus’ popularity, suddenly, the tables turned…everything flipped around, came to a grinding halt, Jesus was taken away, arrested, beaten and scheduled to be crucified.
“What?! Is this all there is? Surely, there has to be more! Surely, Jesus will defeat Rome now!”
Even daily, I must admit I struggle with an “Is this all there is?” sort of mentality. Do I truly find Jesus satisfying? Somehow, I know in my heart of hearts, if I did, I wouldn’t struggle with overeating the way I do, body image the way I do, or materialism the way I do. I wouldn’t pursue an incessant quest for more or constantly ask “Is this all there is? Is this ALL you are going to do, now, Jesus?”
I believe that one of the reasons that the Lord has allowed me to continue on this path, continue to experience a struggle with this food/eating/body “stuff” is because the most important thing on his agenda isn’t my size, my eating, and not even my physical health. Perhaps it is that he wants me to learn to find him, his presence now…just HIM…not what he gives or what he can do…to be totally 100% satisfying.
This is, I believe, what this journey is about. It is about discovering again and again that Jesus IS sufficient. Or better, realizing this and dwelling in that realization…staying there! Clearly, when God sent his Son into the world on that first Christmas, it was an answer to that human question… “Yes, my Son, Jesus, IS sufficient for all you need.” Whatever the question is, Jesus answers “I AM…”
Will I allow myself to experience the reality of that today? Or will I continue to behave like a spoiled child after all the presents are opened on Christmas Day… “Is this all there is?”
Whom have I in heaven but you?And earth has nothing I desire besides you.Psalm 73:25