Lately, I’ve had cravings for powdered donuts. They are one of several “favorite bad foods” for me. Not a pretty sight! I swear they call to me in the grocery store and I know right where they have them by the check out counter. Yikes!
The other day when I drove back from the botched speaking engagement, I stopped for the bathroom and there at the little convenience store was food! And the desire for that donut raised it’s little head. Where are they located here? I deserve one! I’ve been driving so long and I’m hungry. It doesn’t matter that Larry will most likely want to take me out to lunch when I get home. I want it now!
Then 1 Corinthians 10:13 popped into my head “There has no temptation overtaken you but such as is common to man. And God is faithful. He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able and will provide the way of escape” (my paraphrase of what I could remember at the time). Oh, Lord, what could your way of escape be? (Not that I want to look too carefully for it!)
Then I looked. There were two lines with at least 6 people in each line. “Walk away! Here’s your chance. Walk away!” rang through my head. For once my stubborn commitment to have what I want when I want it was pushed aside as I thought, “OK, Lord, you’ve given me the way of escape. A powdered donut is worth lots but not waiting in a long line.” I walked out of the store.
Triumphant! Fun! Satisfaction! It felt so good. I was rejoicing.
As I reflected on what had happened, I thought, “What would it be like to look for the “way of escape” at every temptation point. I could call it “WOE”.
Lately, my “WOE”s have been asking questions like, “What would it be like to stop eating that or go without that?” OR “Why is that so important? What will it feel like to go without it?” OR “What might happen if I obey God?”
That’s what happened the next day. I was out for my jog (OK, truth be told–it’s really lots of walking with a very slow jog every once in a while). I have several different routes I can take and I seemed to sense the Lord say, “Take that way, I have something for you to do.”
I don’t like those kinds of messages. But I’d gotten in the habit of trying to follow the Lord’s leadings on my walks and to tell someone as they walked past me, “Jesus loves you.” It doesn’t really take a whole lot of courage because every time (so far) the person has been surprised, thanked me and walked on. But I can’t really say I love the assignment regardless. But I figured, hey, maybe whoever I meet today will fall down in repentance and thank me by washing my feet! (Hyperbole intended). But it encouraged me and I walked the street that the Lord indicated, looking for the person.
But no one was in sight.
Then the Lord whispered, “Tell it to yourself.”
OH! Oh, Lord, I do need that. Thank you. You do love me. Just as I want the person I tell it to–to really believe me, I know you want me to really believe it. OK, Lord! And I started humming “Jesus loves me, this I know.”
My “What might happen if I obey God?” as my “WOE/way of escape” or in this case, encouragement to obey, brought me the blessing I thought God intended for someone else.
What should be your WOE today? How can we look for God’s “way of escape” as He promises it is there? Maybe we can be detectives: “I’m going to find it!”