God tests us. No where is that more evident than in Job. While God personally does not do the testing, He does take the hedge of protection that He has cast around Job away so that Satan has the ability to "mess with" (if you will) Job's belongings: "The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger." Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD." Job 1:12
Why does God allow this? Some people compare God to a bully. He has the ability to stop things, but He doesn't. He has the ability to take all your woes and insecurities and troubles away, but He doesn't. If God did take away all of our troubles, what would be the point of living? Some of the most amazing blessings I have received have come out of the darkest times in my life. If God didn't allow us to be tested, we would never know how strong we really are.
During times of trouble, do you run to God? Do you run to food? Do you run to smoking? Do you run to drugs or sleep or sex or alcohol or TV or..........? What do you do to make yourself feel better in the midst of a storm? What do you do to find just a moment where you aren't hurting when everything around you seems to hurt?
Until last night, I ran to smoking and food. I am in a relationship (I think) with a man who is in the middle of divorce. Lately he has been distancing himself, breaking plans that he himself made, and, in my mind, been disrespectful. I'm not here to list out all the things he has done wrong and how bad I think he is. Honestly, he is a good guy, but there are things that each partner need in a relationship. While I feel like I'm giving him everything he has asked for, I don't feel like that same respect is being returned.
In the past, I would run to food. I would stick my head in my refrigerator and not extract it unless I ran out of air or food, whichever came first. I would then grab a pack of cigarettes, sit on the patio and smoke until my lungs would beg me to stop so they could get some clean air. Neither of these are good or pleasing to God, nor are they bringing honor to the temple (my body) that God provided me. In fact, until recently, I hadn't realized how sinful those actions were.
I am currently working on a course, settingcaptivesfree.com, that has helped me understand just how sinful overeating is. They do not have a course on smoking, however I find that their teaching on the sin of overeating is very much helping me with quitting smoking.
As a note: I have friends that will read this blog that have known me for years, and they never knew that I smoked, or if they did, they were kind enough to not call me on it. I hid my smoking because I was ashamed of it. I didn't think anyone would understand. Why wouldn't you understand? Because it was a sin and I didn't have enough excuses that I knew would make you stop asking me why I smoke.
All of that aside, last night, while I lay in bed hurting emotionally, I cried out to Jesus. So many emotions ran through me. The urge to binge and to smoke were overwhelming to the point of me putting some serious thought behind doing it. Then a quote I posted on my Facebook page came to mind:
Men are in a restless pursuit after satisfaction in earthly things. They will exhaust themselves in the deceitful delights of sin, and, finding them all to be vanity and emptiness, they will become very perplexed and disappointed. But they will continue their fruitless search. Though wearied, they still stagger forward under the influence of spiritual madness, and though there is no result to be reached except that of everlasting disappointment, yet they press forward. They have no forethought for their eternal state; the present hour absorbs them. They turn to another and another of earth's broken cisterns, hoping to find water where not a drop was ever discovered yet. ~ Charles Spurgeon
How many years did I spend pursuing empty, earthly things to fill those places that are hurting inside of me? How many years did I spend eating until the point of illness to fill the void that I felt inside of me? How much money have I wasted on food and cigarettes to fill those places?
Last night I chose to not run to either of those things. I ran to God. I cried, I prayed, I listened, I talked.... It came down to me praying for HIS will to be done, and not my own. And more crying. But I allowed myself to feel all of those emotions. If you don't allow yourself to FEEL, you'll never learn how to deal with strong emotion.
After all is said and done, I know that I have put everything I can into this relationship. I have been open and honest and transparent. If this relationship with this man does not end up being anything more than it has been to this point, then I feel blessed to have known him. It will still hurt, but I know that God still loves me. I know that, to God, I am still beautiful and worthy and, above all, His child. His child that He has other plans for. For that I will praise Him.
If it works out that this man understands what I'm feeling and we come back together and make this work, then I will praise God all the same. I'll praise God through my storms as well as my victories. Why? Because I know that God is good and He will make all things work out to glorify HIS kingdom, not the kingdom of Brandy.
God is testing me. He is allowing the evil one to come at me in this manner at this time because I have so recently broken free of gluttonous eating and smoking. My old self would run to the refrigerator and cigarettes. God is testing my resolve and discipline and brokenness. A farmer cannot plant a seed until the soil has been tilled, the same as God cannot plant a seed in us until we have been broken.
Until next time, God bless you and yours. <3