When I opened my Bible last Monday morning, Hebrews 10:35 jumped out at me: “Patient endurance is what you need now . . .”
I was on Day 21 of my diet. Patient endurance—that’s what I need, I thought, flipping through the pages of my daily devotional booklet to the day’s reading. “Tribulation produces perseverance,” from James 1 was the key verse. I finished the reading, then picked up another one of my quiet time books and opened to the bookmarked page. “Run with perseverance the race that is set before you,” I read.
“Lord, are You trying to tell me something?”
I didn’t need to ask. He knew I was in a funk. Easter Sunday was a bummer. First there were the Reese’s peanut butter eggs—my favorite Easter candy—that I’d gotten for the grandkids. I was proud of myself when I dumped the extras in my husband’s lunch bucket. Then there was the box of chocolate-covered nuts I’d ordered from my granddaughter’s school’s fundraiser—before I began my diet.
“Look what the Easter bunny brought me,” my husband said when he spied it on the kitchen counter.
I watched him slit open the cellophane wrapping. “Just put it where I can’t see it,” I said.
When he left the room, I opened the box, which he’d put on top of the refrigerator, and took a whiff. But that’s all.
Later that afternoon we went to my son’s for Easter dinner. As usual, they had a pretty good spread. It was the second weekend in a row they’d had a get-together. The week before I was OK with veggies and a bun-less turkey burger. But this time I was in trouble. The chocolate cake whispered my name. I ignored it. OK, I did smear some icing from my husband’s piece on my pinkie and savored the flavor as it melted in my mouth. And I did have a teensy little taste of cake that didn’t even qualify as a bite. But that’s all.
Then someone pulled out the jello pretzel dessert. Suddenly the dip-less veggies and gravy-less turkey didn’t seem so appealing. I stared with longing at the generous helping on my husband’s plate. Licked my lips.
“Does anyone else want some?” someone asked.
“Yes, me!” I was about to say, but I grabbed another carrot stick instead.
Then my daughter-in-law produced her famous strawberry shortcake. If the chocolate cake whispered and the jello pretzel dessert shouted, well, this enticement was screaming my name.
I left. I had to remove myself from temptation. The next morning when I weighed myself, I thought my sacrifice would be duly rewarded. It wasn’t. The bathroom scale seemed stuck on the same number as Friday.
So God knew when I sat down Monday morning for my quiet time that I needed some encouragement.
“When we depend on God to help us through our difficulties,” the writer of Monday’s meditation wrote, “we are empowered to keep going.”
I guess I need to depend less on me and more on God.
Thank you, Lord, for reminding me to keep my eyes on the goal and run—not walk or stumble—with perseverance. Thank you for Your help in times of temptation and discouragement. Amen.
Special-Tea: Read James 1:2-4; 1 Corinthians 10:12-13