Thursday, February 2, 2017

No Substitutions

Yesterday I had lunch with my husband.  Prior to going, I checked out the menu and nutritional information online to find out what glueten free options were available.  Much to my delight, I saw that the items I was considering could be adjusted to glueten free status.  To my disappointment, glueten free status was not as I had envisioned it.

See, I love cheeseburgers.  A good, juicy burger with an obnoxious amount of pickles, and complimented with ketchup, lettuce, tomato, and red onion.  There is no food I love more.....not even a hot fudge sundae from Bruster's.

As our server arrived and asked us if we had any questions, I asked him if I was correct in assuming that the burgers are made glueten free by offering a glueten free bun.  To my complete horror his response was something like this:  "No, we only use real ingredients here, like real bread and real butter.  You just don't get it on a bun.  I can put it on lettuce for you if you want."

Sometimes I wonder if God in His infinite wisdom doesn't do the same with us.  Rather than give us a similar alternative to what isn't good for us, He just performs a blessed subtraction and takes it away altogether.  Unfortunately with our limited perspective, we don't see it that way.  We want our cake and we want to eat it, too.  We want an option, not a removal.

Removals require loss.  Sacrifice.  Surrender.  The truth is, substitutions only lead to frustration.  We need to acknowledge that always having an alternative isn't going to help us move past what is gone or truly satisfy our craving, it will only cause us to lament what we wish could be and lead to our half-hearted thankfulness for what is less than ideal.  So what if instead we look at the removal of what isn't good for us as a chance to rely on the goodness of God to delight us?   And maybe in doing that, we can start to look at the times when the option is more favorable as a sign of His grace.

Father, we want our greatest joy to be found in You.  But we live in a world where options abound that entice us with promises of satisfaction that only leave us empty, hungry, thirsty and wanting more.  Help us embrace the moments where removal is in our best interest, knowing that in You we already have everything we will ever need.  Amen

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