Part of Think Divinely’s goal is to write about everyday Christianity and how this changes our way of thinking.
One day when I was fasting, I attended a women’s luncheon at my church. The grace of God was on me because while everyone sat and ate, I didn’t, and it wasn’t that hard. Instead, I focused on those around me without the distraction of food. I felt like a better listener because I wasn’t trying to gobble food down while chatting. I just listened. It was nice!
Then the test came. We were meeting missionary women seated at each of the tables. We were to get to know them better. At my table were three elderly, missionary women. One was blind. The blind woman, I found out, is a Bible translator for Wycliffe, speaks Portuguese, and translates the Bible from English to Portuguese. She uses an audio bible version and a braille keyboard. Wow. I was in awe!
As I sat listening to the passion that she had for her ministry, I was convicted. Who am I to complain about anything in my life, I thought, as I sat next to this blind woman who has not allowed a disability to prevent her from serving God. For whatever reason, God has not healed her eyes. Only God knows why. I do believe there is a reason behind all the things we suffer. Suffering is certainly not in vain when submitted to God’s Kingdom. The key is to trust in His goodness despite our circumstances, and this woman was a living example of that.
While we were waiting for the guest speakers, the MC said she had a prize for anyone who knew what language Helen spoke (that was the blind missionary I was sitting next to). I immediately shot my hand up and answered correctly, “Portuguese!”
You win a box of Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier gourmet chocolates, the MC declared. Really? C’mon God, I am fasting! I chuckled to myself as I went up to receive the chocolates.
That box of chocolates sat there, in front of me at my table, as the guest speakers began to share their missionary experiences. How was I going to resist them once I got home? My boys were camping this weekend, so no one would know that I snuck a chocolate… or two. Yeah but God would know. He’d forgive me, right? I rationalized that after all, I won these gourmet treats! Maybe God just wanted to bless me with some chocolate yumminess, I thought.
Minutes passed, and I kept looking at that box of chocolates. My friend, sitting next to me, opened them up and read the ingredients to see what flavors that box of treats held. I asked her if she wanted one? “No,” she replied. “I’m just looking.”
A few more minutes passed. I got convicted — again. Why am I holding onto these chocolates while fasting? I thought of my friend who looked longingly into the box. I thought of the blind missionary who was the reason that I won the chocolates in the first place. Then a thought inspired me, “Lisa… give them away. Bless others. You can’t eat them anyway… at least not today.” And so I did.
I first insisted that my friend take one. She carefully selected her favorite flavor from the box. She savored it later with a cup of coffee. I passed the box to the next person at the table. She declined. Another took a piece, and yet another declined. Then the box was passed to Helen. Her friend had to select a chocolate to hand it to Helen to enjoy. And enjoy she did! I have heard it said that when one of our four senses is missing, the other senses are often heightened. This certainly seemed true for Helen. I watched as she allowed the chocolate to melt ever so slowly in her mouth; such decadent sweetness is not to be rushed. Her face softened and a slight smile curved at the edge of her lips. She savored that chocolate, allowing the flavors to linger. Seeing her relish that decadence could not have blessed me more.
In that moment, I was overwhelmed by the simple act of one piece of candy given to a blind woman. I choked back the tears. There is NO way I could have enjoyed that box of chocolates more had I ate them all myself! Seeing how everyone savored the gourmet sweetness was something that money simply cannot buy. I enjoyed every vicarious ‘bite’.
God is so good
God used this missionary luncheon to teach me thankfulness, and how giving things away is so much better than receiving (Acts 20:35). This is one way of becoming more Christ-like, as God wants us to be generous with everything, from the smallest of things to the biggest.
I love how God works in our lives when we’re sensitive to His Spirit during a fast. There is something to fasting that keeps our focus on things of the Spirit and not the flesh. We must recognize these moments when they come, and we must remember them. God is always at work when we have the eyes to see (Matt. 13:16).
P.S. I never did eat any of those chocolates. I gave the last one away to the women’s ministry director, Joyce, who had never had one of these gourmet chocolates before. She practically drooled; it was priceless!