Every time I think I am moving in the right direction, I have a bit of a setback. I want to see great strides develop in my faith walk. How come increasing faith always comes with a storm? I had been doing really well physically over the last few years. I haven’t had any issues that threw me into a tizzy – until this past week. I had a perfect storm of physical stresses that sent me into a downward spiral. I have an autoimmune disease that causes some chemical sensitivity when I am not being diligent with my diet. Over the holidays, I overindulged; and it’s caused a tipping point into the danger zone.
This week has been one of those weeks where I just didn’t want to do anything. My quiet time has been anemic. My Bible reading has fallen off as well. All I have wanted to do is watch TV or read in bed. This should be the time I draw nearer to Jesus, but it seems all I want to do is curl up in the fetal position and feel sorry for myself. I hate it when that happens!
I am just feeling wiped out – physically, emotionally and spiritually. This is not how I envisioned my first month of the New Year starting. I like to start the New Year off with a certain food fast. I usually take out one category like grains or sugar or chocolate and let my body reset from that particular food. This year it was going to be grains. The fast I got was not what I had in mind! After my sickness came on, I had to have some toast to settle my stomach. Nothing went like I was expecting.
Isn’t that the way things happen though? We have a plan. It looks good in theory. But God may have a different agenda. So what’s the lesson in this particular storm? If my focus is on faith, what is faith all about? In “Pursuit of God,” AW Tozer wrote “faith is the gaze of a soul upon a saving God.” He used the illustration of the bronze snake Moses made in the desert. While the people were wandering in the desert, they rebelled against God (over and over again). God used snake bites to get their attention. After the people cried out to God, Moses was instructed to make a bronze snake and attach it to a pole. For those who were bitten by a snake, they could look up to the bronze snake and be healed.
God used this illustration in the Old Testament as a testimony of what Jesus would later do when He died on a cross for our sins. Just as the bronze snake was lifted up, Jesus, the Son of God was lifted up on the cross for us. We can lift our eyes to Him when we have been bitten by that deceitful snake called sin. The people looked upon the bronze snake with external eyes, but we are given spiritual eyes to look upon Jesus to heal our wounds. Scripture tells us “by His wounds, we are healed.”
During this last week, I realized I have not had my soul gaze upon my Savior. Sickness is a tool our enemy uses to keep us out of the game. It keeps our eyes focused on ourselves. It makes us ineffective as followers of Jesus. Sickness leaves us on the sidelines curled up in a fetal position. Paul warned us, as followers, to keep the body healthy. The body is the living temple of God, and we are to keep it holy and well-tended. We have an obligation as the people of God to be available for His use. If we’re not in the game, we are useless to Him. The deceitful snake does his best to keep us distracted and off the playing field. (I guess football is on my mind while I write this!)
I brought my sickness on myself because I was not diligent in keeping within my dietary guidelines. I thought I could get away with it. But like sin, it always finds the light! Maybe this is the lesson I need to learn to help me with my faith. I no longer want to be wiped out by things I could have avoided if I had stayed the course. My gaze has to be focused upon my Savior – high and lifted up. No matter what, He’s worth the price I have to pay in order to be healthy and whole (as far as it depends on me). Besides, I hear there is going to be a wedding feast to end all wedding feasts one day! And every morsel we’ll consume then will be heavenly!
Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims.
You know the old saying, “First you eat to live, and then you live to eat”? Well, it may be true that the body is only a temporary thing, but that’s no excuse for stuffing your body with food, or indulging it with sex. Since the Master honors you with a body, honor him with your body! 1 Corinthians 6:12-13 (MSG)