My thoughts (David Zier):
As I read verse 8 of today’s passage, over and over, I am reminded how I learn “obedience” through the hard times. Many on-line dictionaries define the word as “practice of obeying” or “submissive compliance.” Synonyms for obedience include words such as “submission” or “subservience.”
The word “obedience” to some may be a negative word, especially when considering the events that happen in life when authority figures abuse their power or when people manipulate others in order to obtain obedience. I am not referring to it this way. Actually, verse 7 says it a little different – “reverent submission.”
When I started taking my medications for migraines and seizures, some of the medication threw my metabolism out of sync. I exercised daily, but I found that I was gaining weight with the same routine and foods. I had it in my head that all this would pass and I would be cured because my faith was strong, so I let it go. In December 2012, I weighed the most I ever weighed in my life. It was then that I had one of those ah-ha moments. I was taking these meds that were intentionally slowing down my central nervous system, even impacting how my thyroid was working, but that information did not get into my mind until I realized how much weight I had gained in a relatively short amount of time. I was about 20 pounds over weight at the start, so I don’t want to misrepresent where I was, but it ballooned to 50 in a short time. Ugh! I was not coming off the medication, so something had to give. (The drug was on Weight Watchers top 10 prescription drug hit list!)
I realized that I needed to be more involved than I had been with my overall health and with the ramifications of the medications I was on; and I needed to eat better so that I was being as healthy as I could be. I even called on my doctors to get involved about what was best, especially since some of the meds gave me nausea. It is amazing what can happen when you just ask!
I prayed about what the best plan would be, how to monitor my food and activity, and how to figure out what was working and not working. I admit, I became a little obsessive, because I was not able to control other things that were happening. But I took the time to figure things out, and I asked God to guide me so that I was doing well for myself. I have to stay away from dairy, and it can be hard. I am keeping away from added sugar, gluten, and processed foods. I lost the 50 pounds and I have maintained my weight pretty well for over a year.
Asking God to help me, being willing to sit with Jesus during my prayer and complain and moan and groan, and coming to a place where I could be “reverently submissive” in this situation, provided me a deep well of faith to push forward. I don’t want anyone to think it was easy. It was not. Even now in maintaining, I have my struggles and my moments, but they are getting easier. The meds have piled even higher since then, but that awareness and invitation to allow the presence of God into this space is key for me. Awareness of what I do and why helps me, and being intentional about inviting God into the situation guides me.
Jesus learned obedience through what he suffered (Hebrews 5:8). We can all learn from that in our own lives. This is just another lesson from Christ the Teacher.
Thought for the day: What growth have I recently experienced, and how did it come about? What awareness did I gain, and how did I invite God into the situation?
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.