I used to love to eat out or order take-out for a night off from cooking. Not anymore. After years of health problems, I finally learned that certain foods were causing havoc on my body. And while I am thankful to be feeling better, I find no pleasure in telling someone who kindly invites us to dinner that I am gluten-free, dairy free, soy free, egg free and, oh yeah, I can’t eat potatoes either! Really, who gets excited about preparing a meal that’s free of all that? But God, in His goodness, uses all things for His good purposes and, while I will never stop mourning having to forego Lou Malnati’s deep dish pizza, God has used these losses to teach me to savor the sweetness of the gospel more deeply. Here are 4 ways my restricted diet has pointed me to Christ.
I have been reminded that, by nature, I struggle with a sense of entitlement. As though I deserved the many gifts of grace God has given me, I can see where pride was at work in me when I could eat anything I wanted without any problems. As foods that delight my flesh have been eliminated, God has cultivated humility, making me more sensitive to those who go through life feeling limited by something they never wanted or expected, things such as divorce, disability, singleness, an incarcerated husband, bankruptcy, or a child with mental illness. I’ve realized how easy it is to make assumptions or judgments about things I have not struggled with and know nothing about. Thus, my struggles and disappointments have better equipped me to be an instrument of God’s grace to those who walk with a “limp” through life. Thank you Lord, for taking away something I thought I needed so that, along with becoming more grateful for the many good gifts you give, I will be more sensitive to the losses of others.
Having to deny myself foods I enjoy reminds me of how much Christ gave up for us when He came to earth. God’s Word tells us that Jesus left his home in heaven to take on human flesh, taking his first breath in a smelly stable. The Lord of lords willingly submitted Himself to the authority of sinful parents, teachers, Roman soldiers, and eventually a cross. He gave up his dignity, honor, rights, and the worship He rightly deserves from every creature (Philippians 2) for our sake. When I think of how easily I succumb to complaining simply because I can’t eat pizza or cookies, I am humbled to think of all Christ sacrificed for me. Thank you Lord, for giving me daily opportunities to remember the cost of my salvation each time I have to say no to something I desire.
When I can’t eat what everyone else is enjoying the Lord reminds me that His denials are always His mercies that I might become more like Him. If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it” Luke 9:23-24). Just as I must choose food that will strengthen me, and deny myself what will make me weak, feeding ourselves gospel truths each day is what brings renewed power and strength to our souls. Christ gives new life to those who are willing to lay everything down for His sake. Thank you Lord, for your commitment to heal me even when I don’t fully understand the depths of sin that I need healing from.
I have counted the loss of favorite foods as an opportunity to “gain Christ and be found in Him… becoming like Him in His death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead” Philippians 3:7-11. It’s true that for a little while I must give up fresh crusty bread with butter lathered on it, but I am learning to let my hunger drive me to the Bread of Life, where I am “filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19). In God’s goodness He satisfies me far more abundantly than anything earth has to offer. Thank you Lord that you are preparing a glorious wedding feast for your Church with our Bridegroom Jesus Christ and that we will taste all of heaven’s joys with the purest delight. But if you should decide to have “Lou’s” on the menu, that will be just fine with me!
Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with you. I’d love to hear how God has used disappointment in your life to help you appreciate and savor the gospel more fully, using your losses to gain more of Christ!