It Just Doesn't Matter
I lay on the stretcher in the hospital emergency room, wondering, waiting, uncertain of what was happening to me. With my family history of heart disease and with the loss of both parents to heart attacks, I had to wonder if this was the beginning of the end? Did I have a heart attack? What was wrong with me? My mind drifted to the events of the last few weeks. I found myself thinking about my life, and my beliefs. It's only natural I guess, to think about God when you are facing the possibility of the end of your life. I began to think about what had been happening at church, all the changes we have been going through in the last few years. We were making major changes in an effort to obey God and please Him, yet there was so much confusion, so many different opinions about what liturgy to use and what doctrines to have. It was all so stressful. As I lay there I began to realize how much I had been fighting all the changes. I had been resisting every change the church had made. I didn't like them. I didn't want to change. I began to wonder if I had been fighting God! I began to consider the importance of my relationship with God. Most of all I started to think about the effects of the stress on my spiritual life and my current position in that cold emergency room. Was it connected? Was it worth it? When my minister showed up I felt a little better. We talked and prayed for a little while. Then I began to just talk about what was on my mind. I was surprised to hear myself. I was shocked by what I was saying. It wasn't so much the words themselves, but what I was feeling and thinking as I said them. I realized something that night in the hospital. As I lay there wondering about my life, I suddenly realized that as far as my religious beliefs were concerned, none of them mattered to God! He really didn't care what I believed. He wasn't the least bit impressed by my doctrinal positions. He wanted my heart! It suddenly started to come together like some giant spiritual puzzle! I realized that it doesn't matter on which holiday I worship God, as long as I worship Him. It doesn't matter whether I meet on Saturday or Sunday, as long as I assemble before Him. It doesn't matter whether I take communion once a year or every day, as long as I do it to honor Him. It doesn't matter whether I sing new songs or old, as long as I sing to Him. It doesn't matter whether I raise my hands or not, as long as I praise Him. I began to realize that it just doesn't matter! The more I thought about my own stubborn beliefs and the closer I came to my own mortality the clearer this became. It really wasn't important at all! God really doesn't care about man's religion, with all of its doctrines, rules, and liturgies. He loves me and just wants me to love Him. It's that simple! Itís not like I didn't know this! It clearly states in the Bible that He wants me to love Him with my whole heart, my whole soul, and my whole mind. How could I not understand what He so plainly said? All of the stress I had been going through, all of the confusion, all of the pain and suffering that came with each doctrinal change was so unnecessary. It just doesn't matter! Now I understood what Jesus meant when He said His yoke is easy and His burden is light. It was religion that laid the heavy yoke upon me with the burdens I had to bear. It is Jesus who now removed this burden and opened my eyes to see the truth that now frees me. In that moment I knew I was going to be O.K. Not just physically, but spiritually as well. I left that emergency room with the doctors shaking their heads. Their tests showed nothing wrong. Jesus took care of everything! I hate to say it, but that trip to the emergency room was one of the best things that ever happened to me. It was there, facing my own mortality, that Jesus healed my heart, not just physically, but spiritually, with the wonderful revelation that....it just doesn't matter.
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