As I waited in my car at a traffic light, tears came. My heart ached for my friend who had shared sad news. I also toyed with vain imaginings. What if that happens to me?
My mood darkened. And a strong craving stirred deep within me like a gluttonous creature waking up after a winter’s sleep. Restaurants on each corner of the intersection beckoned me.
“A coffee frappucvino would lift your spirits.”
I shook my head. “Too many calories.”
“How about a hamburger with fries or ice cream?”
“I’m trying to lose weight!”
I turned left and drove towards home, never realizing how many restaurants lined the main highway in our small town. My mouth watered as advertisements for tacos, footlong sandwiches, and barbecue pulled pork vied for my taste buds.
“You should treat yourself to a personal pan pizza. Think of that warm mozzarella cheese…
I clenched my teeth. “Stop obsessing over food. I’m going home where I can control what and how much I eat.”
If I hadn’t signed up for Thin Within last week, I probably would have eaten the frappuccino and the pizza. Why?
Because in that moment, I would have gladly satisfied my deep, ravenous craving for a few minutes of delectable joy.
I realize now—hunger wasn’t the issue. As my friend, Heidi, says, “I wanted food to alter my mood.”
Funny, I never thought of myself as eating for comfort. Other folks might eat a quart of ice cream when they were depressed, but not me. So the Holy Spirit used my circumstances to show me the truth in Thin Within’s Lesson One.
I learned experientially that consuming a quart of ice cream is no less emotionally driven than grabbing the Almond Joy just because I FEEL depressed, lonely, or sad.
Sorrow is part of the human experience. When I feel like a hurt child, I want to crawl into Mother’s lap and rest. Rub my back. Kiss my bruise. Make me all better.
Only, I’m not a child and it’s necessary to deal with life’s pendulum of emotions by resting in the Lord rather than acquiring self-destructive habits like overeating to numb my pain.
It’s just like Satan (who seeks to steal, kill, and destroy) to entice people to search for comfort in anything or anyone other than God, the Father who loves us.
God knows we need comfort. He tells us, “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you….” (Isaiah 66:13 NIV)
Jesus said, “I will not leave you comfortless….” (John 14:18)
God longs to comfort aching hearts. However, unlike a mom who might comfort her child with an animal cracker, the Lord doesn’t lure our sweet tooth to produce a smile. He satisfies our deepest cravings with Himself.
Comfort means “to ease someone’s pain,” it doesn’t ensure the Lord will remove the problem that pains us.
Instead, God comforts us with His strength. For the word “comfort” is derived from “fortis” which means strong.
“His strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9)
“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).
- Strength to endure pain and sorrow.
- Strength to walk on feeble feet down the path that leads to abundant life.
- Strength to abstain from creature comforts that might sabotage our efforts to eat healthy.
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:25–26).
Now, isn’t that a comforting thought?