A few years ago, I was given a remarkable grace by God to quit caffeine. It happened all of a sudden. I had one of those aha! moments that made all the difference. Not that caffeine itself is a bad thing, but for me it has been. Always on the run and with a racing heart.
So since then, I replaced it with decaf. Now, decaf isn’t all that exciting. When you go to the coffee shop, you don’t really find all the fancy flavors for decaf like you do for regular coffee. And the taste? Well, I’ve never been too picky, but let’s just say that caffeine must have some good flavor to it.
Another thing about decaf is that so few people drink it that it’s hard to find it fresh at coffee shops, and it’s hard to justify brewing a whole pot in your home. So, you know what I usually get?
Yes, the bottled instant coffee that you might see in the supermarket with the word EZGRIP on the lid, especially made for our elder brothers and sisters, the folks with little money and strength. Putting a spoonful into hot water is one step away from putting in a spoonful of dirt.
How can you stand it? That’s a good question. It’s a little cross. But, there’s something else that’s added, something that makes a huge difference.
It’s called International Delight.
Coffee creamer. It comes in all different flavors, you’ve got hazelnut, toasted almond, french vanilla, irish crème. When you add International Delight to the dirt-in-water, everything changes. I get back the hot gourmet coffee flavor, without all the bad caffeine.
You know, for me, the International Delight and the instant decaf go together. There can’t be one without the other. They are married.
When the Lord called the disciples, it was to leave a lot of things. They weren’t bad things in themselves, but for them they would be bad to stick with. But what did He replace them with?
Now, let me ask you, how could they stand that? How could they be expected to give up all that they had and take a cross instead? Houses and lands and families, all for a cross?
Ah, but there’s something else that’s added, something that makes a huge difference:
Jesus and the Cross go together. There can’t be one without the other. They are married.
“If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Mt 16:24)
During Lent, the Church invites us to find the thing we need to cut out of our lives, the thing that send us off into the wrong direction. She invites us to deny ourselves and take up our cross – and to follow Jesus.
As Lent comes to a close, as you deny yourself and take up your cross yet another day, don’t forget that your cross has a marriage partner. Don’t forget to follow Him.
Don’t forget your International Delight.
You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
And your land shall no more be termed Desolate;
But you shall be called My delight is in her,
And your land Married;
For the LORD delights in you,
And your land shall be married.