Words of Worth

O Taste and See

March 8, 2014

salt verseLent noun \ˈlent\ a period of 40 days before Easter during which many Christians do not eat certain foods or do certain pleasurable activities as a way of remembering the suffering of Jesus Christ (Merriam-Webster dictionary)

 Fasting is not a new concept to me in that I spent almost a quarter of a century of my life in a church which fasted during the Lenten season. In reality, however, I gave up my favorite foods-potato chips and ice cream- for forty days, joyfully anticipated Sundays when I could break that fast and realized that all those years my fasting was subpar spiritually in that it really was a religious excuse to diet rather than to ponder the sufferings of Christ.

However, this year, thanks to a Bible course I am taking called, The Spiritual Life, I have a different perspective of Lent. As part of the course, my professor required a food or beverage fast during February which ended up being a good practice run of sorts for this season of Lent.

I chose to fast from table salt. While I realize that table salt would not be considered a food group, in and of itself, and it will never make it on the USDA food pyramid, to me it is food because I could eat it by the “shakerful”. I.Love.Salt. I am the person who salts food BEFORE tasting it and my favorite kind of snack is salty, crunchy—most especially Herr’s Ripple potato chips!

I eased into the fasting, no sense shocking my system too traumatically at the onset.  I started by not salting the eggs I fried for breakfast and then moved onto controlling salt where I could, like buying unsalted nuts or butter and by throwing out all salty snacks in my pantry. For the most part, I was successful in refraining from salt use, although I drew the line one breakfast morning, when invited to a friend’s table where she served hard boiled eggs.  Surely God did not wish for me to eat unsalted hard boiled eggs!

During the initial days of my February fast, it seemed as though the more I thought about doing without salt, the more difficult it was to do without.  And so I tried to use brute force thinking—“You can do this, you can do this!” The more I tried in my own strength the more conscious I became of how inconvenient and distasteful it was to deny myself.  Then I graduated from brute force thinking to praying and asking God for the strength and joyful disposition to do without. At those times it was very easy to do without salt and it did not make much of a difference in the taste of the food I was eating.

Sometimes I would think of Jesus dying on the cross and all that He sacrificed, the pain He endured for all mankind and for me personally, and I realized it was no big deal to deprive myself of salt.  It was almost embarrassing to compare table salt deprivation with crucifixion, but that helped me to ponder His sufferings and to realize the magnitude of self-forgetfulness. He did something infinitesimally more life giving and offering than doing without salt.

Part of the reason for the assignment from my professor was to learn something about myself and God through the discipline of self-denial.  And here’s what I learned- salt was a soothing “food” which caused great discomfort when it was missing from my diet. And when I couldn’t have salt, I replaced that void with sugary snacks in order to ease the “pain” of saying no to myself.  So here’s what I REALLY learned-I often substitute what will not work in the first place, with something that will not work in the second place, when I should put God’s will and my relationship with Him in first place!

What did I learn about God this past month? I learned that He is faithful, comforting, enough, and all I need. Every time I fasted from salt by depending on His power instead of my “willpower”, I stopped thinking about salt and began communing with Him. (Sheryl)

 “O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!”

(Psalm 34: 8)

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