At Maple Tree, we have had the honor to serve thousands of people while they battle cancer. Our patients have ranged in age from 3 all the way to 94 years old.
Just about all of them struggle with food.
One patient, in particular, always comes to mind when I talk about this subject. Her name was Karen. She had breast cancer and was significantly overweight when we first met. She suffered from diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. During our first meeting, she was so sick that she kept falling asleep.
I don’t think I have ever worried more for a patient’s health, than I did for hers. A quick talk with our dietitian revealed that she had a very unhealthy diet. She was on a fixed income, and was under the impression that healthy food was just too expensive for her.
So, she ate fast food 10-12 times every week.
I’m not exaggerating when I saw that a French fry was the only vegetable she consumed on a regular basis.
Karen was very resistant to changing her diet. She wasn’t willing to try healthy food, because she was sure she wouldn’t like it. She had herself convinced that eating healthy wouldn’t make a difference in her health status, so why even try?
Food struggles are as old as the human race.
Think about it – Adam and Eve had all the food they could ever eat, yet they wanted the one piece of fruit they were not allowed to have (Genesis 3).
In the wilderness, God provided the Israelites with manna every morning for 40 straight years. God called this manna “bread from heaven” (Exodus 16:4). Therefore, I believe that this manna was more than your average rice cake. I bet it was yummy and sweet. Like a cake, but better. Imagine, getting to eat your fill of yummy cake from heaven every day. I would even be willing to bet that some of the Israeli women would get a little creative with this manna.
Picture it… Manna pancakes. Manna pie. Deep fried manna. Manna on a stick. The possibilities were endless.
Yet, the Israelites wanted more! (Numbers 11:4).
Ecclesiastics 10:19 tells us that bread was made for laughter. If that is the case, then why are so many of us in bondage to it?
How do we even begin to change our perception of food?
Perhaps a good place to start would be to examine God’s purpose for food.
First Timothy 4:3 teaches us that God created food to be received with thanksgiving. God is the creator and sustainer of our food sources. Therefore, food demonstrates our dependence on Him.
We are to eat bread with gladness (Ecclesiastics 9:7), remembering that He provides us with everything for our enjoyment (1 Timothy 6:17).
In other words, God wants us to enjoyour food, not feel guilty or frustrated with it (Matthew 6:25-27)!
Food is not the enemy. It is meant for our enjoyment and fellowship.
So today, lets purpose to look at food through eyes of thankfulness, rather than feelings of deprivation and discontentment.
Take time to savor the juiciness of an orange. The crunchiness of an apple. The beauty of a plate filled with vibrant, colorful vegetables. Thank the One who counted us worthy enough to provide these bountiful blessings!