Like many Christians, I chose to give up something for Lent. In my pride I decided it had to be something "worth suffering for." I had to give up something that would impress others.
I poked fun at my husband when he decided to give up his favorite candy. I decided my big sacrifice was to give up one meal a week. I chose to give up my dinner meal on Wednesday nights. Wednesday is one of the days I work at my counseling practice and the only day I work at night. I figured this would be easier as I did not have to be at home preparing dinner and then sit and watch my husband eat in front of me. Furthermore it would be easier to work through the hunger and focus on my clients than on my stomach. And as I committed myself to this sacrifice I began counting down the Wednesdays until I could go back to my normal routine. I seemed to be handling things fairly well until last Wednesday evening. I had a fairly spotty schedule with lots of time in between clients. As a result the pains in my stomach became a distraction. I tried to find a way to refocus my attention and then I remembered a question one of my colleagues asked me when I told her about my Lenten sacrifice. She asked, "Oh are you praying during that time or are you going to work through it?" I replied, "I'm working through it." However on this particular Wednesday I could not work through it so I decided to take the time to pray. I had heard from others that when we pray through these times of deprivation, we often hear from the Lord more clearly. So, I figured I had nothing to lose. I began praying and thinking about how it feels to the many people who do not have enough to eat but in the back of my mind I knew my suffering was going to be temporary. Besides, I was truly "suffering" for the Lord versus those who give up what seemed to me to be mediocre sacrifices. That's when the Lord impressed upon my heart the words of Christ as Satan was tempting Him in the desert. Satan's first temptation was aimed at Jesus' physical needs, as He had been fasting forty days and forty nights. ( Now that's a sacrifice!) Satan says, "If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written; 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" (Matthew 4:3-4) italics mine. What the Lord was saying to me was that He alone is my sustenance. He is the true bread of life. His word is what I need to feed on versus my prideful martyrdom. In feeding on His word my spirit is strengthened and I find real life, eternal life. When all is said and done, it is the life I have in Christ that matters most not the food I put in my stomach. Praise the Name of Jesus, the Bread of Life!
Blessings on your Easter!