"Sugar is to you is like alcohol to an alcoholic. You must not eat it." The words resounded in my head as I lay in bed, my eyes not yet open but my mind wide awake. I didn't need to ask, "Lord, is that you?" I knew it was God speaking to me! I knew, first, because I never would have come up with that thought on my own. And second, because God had been trying to tell me a similar message for at least two years. That was twenty-years ago. And, as much as I hate to admit, it was only two years ago, this very week, that I finally and fully obeyed God's clear command to me.
It all began twenty-two years ago, after my husband and I moved with our four small children to California. After we settled into our new home and a new routine, I started to feel awful. My joints ached, I had mood swings brought on by low blood sugar, and I was exhausted all the time. The doctor ran tests, but couldn't find any medical reason for my symptoms. So, I cried out to God. "Lord, please help me to feel better. Give me wisdom about what I need to do. Lord, help me!"
One evening, my best friend from Arizona called. "I know someone who has similar symptoms as you." She went on to recommend a book titled, The Yeast Connection. I was so desperate for help, I loaded my kids into our Suburban and went to the nearest bookstore to buy it. (This was before home computers, internet and e-readers.) The book turned out to be an answer to my prayers. It was also the first time I recognized God warning me about sugar.
For months, I pretty much eliminated sugar from my diet. (No more Diet Coke and Snickers candy bar for breakfast) My energy returned, my moods calmed down and I enjoyed life much more. However, slowly I returned to my old ways of eating. Before long, I was sick again. And this time, I felt worse than ever. On top of that, I was scheduled for a hysterectomy due to excessive pain and bleeding because of a disease in my uterus. In preparation for the surgery, I interviewed several woman who had gone through the procedure asking about their experience and for their advice. One friend told me, "Cathy, have the hysterectomy. You will not regret it and you'll feel so much better." Then she looked me straight in the eye and said, "But you need to do one more thing. You must stop eating sugar."
My friend and I hadn't seen each other in ages. We actually didn't even know each other that well. How did she know? How could she have given me such a commanding word? But I knew! I knew, once again, God was trying to speak to me. He had used one friend to share a book. Now, He was using another friend to give me a loving word of exhortation. And as if that wasn't enough, the next morning was when I woke up to God's personal admonition, "Sugar is to you like alcohol is to an alcoholic. You must not eat it."
"Okay God!" "I hear You!" "I get it!" "I will stop eating sugar!"
And I did, mostly. Except, in the summer when we had five birthdays in our family. Or during the holidays, especially Thanksgiving with all the pies. I love pies. I rationalized. I justified. And, I whined and pouted. "It's just one bite." Or, "I've been so good." Or, "It's not fair, Lord. How come everyone else gets to eat sugar?" And, the worst of all, "But, it's sooooo hard, Lord." "I deserve it." "I need it." "I've got to have it."
Thankfully, God didn't strike me with lightening. But, sadly, He never again spoke to me about sugar. But I knew! I never forgot! And, every time I would slip up and start to nibble on sugar again, I would also suffer the natural consequences. My immune system would weaken. I would get sick. And, I felt worse and worse. Not just in my body, but in my spirit. Because, I knew I was disobeying God!
Finally, the Lord began to challenge me to call my eating sugar what is was, SIN! I wasn't JUST having a little birthday cake, or ONLY a small slice of pie, or MERELY a bite-size snickers candy bar. I was sinning against God and what He had specifically told me not to do. That is, until two years ago, when after indulging myself yet again during the holidays, I felt sicker than I'd ever felt in my whole life. That night, I truly repented to God. I confessed that I had sinned against Him the past twenty years by eating sugar (even in small quantities). I asked for His forgiveness and His cleansing. And I resolved to stop eating sugar once and for all.
At first, it was easy. There was a marvelous victory in calling my eating sugar what it was, SIN! There was a sweet grace in surrendering to what I knew was God's good and best for me all along. And, there was a wonderful freedom in finally overcoming the battle I had waged against God's command to me for so long. Until, that is, the first night I had to cut a birthday cake for my son's party. I carefully cut the first piece and placed it on the plate. And then, out of habit, I went to lick the icing off of my fingers. There it was, my first test. I wrestled with the temptation before me. It would just be a lick.
I am so thankful, as I begin my third year with no sugar, for God's patience! For His faithfulness! For His forgiveness! And, for His love and desire for our good! And as I close, I wonder has the Lord spoken to you in the past, or recently, about something He would like you to give up, or surrender to Him, or even something He wants you to do? He will confirm it (perhaps He already has), He will wait for you and He will show you His blessings in it when you finally and fully do it His way!