Our pastor called our church to a corporate Daniel fast this month. Like Daniel in the Bible, he encouraged the congregation to eat simply and Biblically. Traditionally, Daniel is said to have eaten vegetables and fruits, no meats or sweets or the "rich foods of the king." Jeff and I agreed to give it a try. I did very well at home, even lost 4 lbs in the first 4 days! ...
But when I traveled with some friends to Berea, KY for their annual Quilt Extravaganza, I didn't fare so well!
My friends and I ate at the inestimable historic Boone Tavern, Berea College's hotel and restaurant of modern Southern cuisine. I was done for!! Chicken in a Bird's nest (the nest is made of deep fried, thin strips of potatoes) with cranberry orange jelly! Spoon bread!! It was fantastic. Not so good for my consistency on the Daniel fast! :-)
And then there were the vendors at the quilt show!! I do not need fabric. But it's difficult to resist some of the beautiful things I saw. I managed to pick up just a few goodies. I still don't know how to use batiks or hand-dyes, but I'm drawn to their rich color and silky texture. I succumbed to temptation all too easily!
In the wake of my loss this summer, I find myself lonely for Sam so often. And with that loneliness comes the temptation to fill the emptiness with the wrong things.
Wanting to be closer than is appropriate with a fun male friend.
Spending too much.
Giving in to depression.
Pulling away from God.
Telling Him, "I don't want to be close to You right now!"
He is so big and so mighty, though, that my pain and the resulting temptations do not scare or surprise Him! In fact, He is aware in every way of what I am going through.
The writer of Hebrews explains:
"...He had to be made like his brothers in every way in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people." (Hebrews 2:17 NIV)
Then, catch this in verse 18:
"Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted."The Apostle Paul says, "And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV)
I don't think it's ever easy to resist temptation. Sometimes, it's downright painful. And right now, that pain seems to compound the other loss that I feel. But Jesus knows all about suffering, and He is able to help.
I don't know exactly what way of escape will be available, but when I need it, He will provide it. It will probably include that perfect little word that is so hard to say: "No!" But He will help me say it.
And He will fill the empty places as no one and nothing else can!