My Sugar-Fasting Dilemma

I wasn’t sure what I would do.

I anticipated that a choice was required.

My heart was conflicted.

The situation necessitated prayer.

I called upon my incredibly supportive health team – Team Victorious – to pray for me. In addition, I have a friend and fellow no-sugar traveler who I asked to pray for me too.

What was my dilemma?

It involved my decision to fast sugar for 2017. I have given up sugar this year. As a result,  I was faced with an obstacle to keeping my no-sugar-in-2017 resolution.

John and I were about to facilitate an Intentional Community training for small group leaders at a local church south of Soweto. The focus of this workshop was to guide the leaders towards understanding the call and purpose of their small group and in so doing integrate five cornerstone values. These values included authenticity and intimacy, safety, help and service, care and listening, and finally transformation.

The situation that caused me concern would occur after John and I finished our workshop facilitation. After a training time, it is tradition in most South African Church communities, to serve tea and refreshments. This time is for fellowship and relationship-building. It is also an expression of honor and appreciation.  This food is a gift-offering to both presenter and participant for taking the time to contribute to the spiritual health and spiritual growth of their church family. Since John and I were the presenters and facilitators, we would be served first. And the expectation and desire of those who prepare the food is that we would demonstrate our appreciation by eating it. My dilemma centered on the fact that most tea times bestow cake, cookies, pudding, chips, soda and other sugary-laden offerings.

Thus, I anticipated that I would be forced to make a choice.

Love and honor those who graciously prepared the food before me and eat it – even if it contained sugar.

Or

Offend and hurt those who graciously prepared the food for us and decline to eat it, holding to my 2017 sugar fast.

Or

Could another option present itself?

This is why I asked for the support and prayers of my team. I believed that my God could meet me exactly at my point of need and help me with my food choice reckoning.

I determined to seek Him for my sugar dilemma. It says in the book of Hebrews:

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.

New International Version, Hebrews 10:23

Many of you know that I have been on a hope quest this year. Coupled with my sugar fasting, developing a deeper understanding of the amazing hope we have in Jesus Christ has been my aim throughout 2017.

It’s no wonder that I sought my Savior Jesus Christ to guide me in hope during my no-sugar journey. For in so doing, I have found my God to be faithful to me.

Am I silly to ask God to assist me with something like a food choice after John’s and my training time?

Aren’t there more pressing prayer needs in the world?

Maybe.

However, what I know about my God is that He cares about me. He loves me. And what I appreciate about this hope exhortation in Hebrews is that as we hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, God’s faithfulnessness is promised. In addition, if I am to hold on to this amazing hope I have in Christ then I  don’t let go of Him.

Not ever.

Not for anything.

Not for the insignificant.

Not for the paramount.

If I value His care and guidance in my life for every big and little thing – even this no-sugar deal of 2017 – He will see me through the difficult choices that arise from this resolution. Because ultimately, the reason behind my no-sugar decision of 2017 is to seek Him for each of my life’s cares.  I didn’t want to rely upon chocolate or some other sugary delight to anesthetize my pain or handle my stress. Because I have done that. Too often. The stresses of missionary life come in all shapes and sizes. In addition, to be completely honest, having two children with special needs presents unique challenges as well – especially in a different culture. There are times when I don’t feel up to the task and feel completely overwhelmed. Chocolate has provided a temporary but very fleeting feel-a-bit-better fix. However, sugar and chocolate have never offered what I needed most in terms of the many varied life challenges I face, day in and day out. I need something much more life-affirming and transformational.

I need the hope of Christ.

So guess what happened on Saturday?

Remember what Hebrews 10:23 says:

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.

My God provided a solution to my sugar dilemma. He addressed my desire to love and respect those in my sphere of influence. He generously showed His great faithfulness to me on Saturday.

How?

Well, after our training, John and I were led back to a reception room where the food was arranged for us. In addition to the cake, the pudding, the chips, and the soda that was prepared especially for John and me, presented upon the table were also green salad and chicken!!!I received another gift.  Instead of being served a plate of food, I was asked to serve myself!!!

I could partake of some of the specially-prepared food on the table! I could choose what I could eat!!!

I would be able to do three important things!

I could continue my no-sugar fast for 2017 and honor my commitment to the Lord!

I could appreciate and bless my hosts and hostesses by eating some of the food that was especially prepared for us!

Third of all, I could praise my God and my Savior Jesus Christ for seeing me through this situation and providing the answer for my very real and present need. I counted upon my God to be faithful and He was!

Friends, our God appreciates and honors us when we seek Him for every care and concern in our lives – no matter what it is. Nothing is inconsequential to Him because of His love of us.

I sought my God and the prayers of others to see me through my no-sugar dilemma. My God answered and assisted in a way that blessed and cared for those who sought to honor me as I in turn sought to bless and honor my God. His provision met an all-encompassing need.

Truly, my sugar predicament underscores the value of an unswerving hope in Christ and the faithfulness of God. What an incredible hope lesson in life!

Are you encouraged by this hope-filled truth?

Are you heartened by God’s faithfulness in my no-sugar journey this year?

Are you emboldened to seek Him for your needs as well?

No matter how big or small we consider our requests to be, as we hold unswervingly to the hope we profess in Christ, we shall experience the faithfulness of our God.

What do you need help with?

Don’t be afraid to ask.

I did and it made all the difference to my no-sugar dilemma.

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