Saturday, May 16, 2015

Elimination Diet

I've been doing an elimination diet for nearly two weeks, and while I'm often metaphorical here on this blog, I mean that in the literal sense. My sweet Elese has had worsening eczema over the last two months, and since many people believe that skin issues have their roots in the gut, I have cut out almost all potential allergens/irritants in the hopes of clearing up her skin and identifying a cause. As of about two days ago, she has soft cheeks and I am praying that it's not because I haven't had a drop of alcohol or a slather of butter for what feels a lot more like eternity than a mere 12 days.

All of this denying myself for the sake of another has given me occasion to ponder the spiritual parallels of this exercise. I mean, it's not often that our daily choices have such an obvious effect on another person whose well-being rests wholly on those choices. It's also not often that our choices in the past can be completely undone in a single moment -- in my case, sneaking a bite of cheese when I need a quick protein boost or grabbing a glass of wine on a particularly harried evening, and I'd have to start the whole exercise over again.

They say that becoming a parent provides opportunity for a person to experience the love of God in ways that we previously had not considered. I realize that giving up cheese for two weeks is a really lame comparison to the Son of God dying for me (cue a Jim Gaffigan joke about giving Jesus socks on his birthday); but I am weak and small, and this exercise has set me pondering, so I'll take it. Our well-being is totally vicarious, dependent upon the self-sacrificial choices of the One from whom all good and all life flows.

This morning, I was enjoying Indelible Grace's song "Upon a Life I Did Not Live" and realized that it perfectly complements this point.  If you have 3 minutes and 55 seconds, don't just read these words, but also click play on the music. You want this stuck in your head for the rest of the afternoon.
Upon a Life I have not lived,
Upon a Death I did not die,
Another’s Life; Another’s Death,
I stake my whole eternity.

Not on the tears which I have shed,
Not on the sorrows I have known,
Another’s tears; Another’s griefs,
On these I rest, on these alone
O Jesus, Son of God, I build on what Thy cross has done for me;
There both my death and life I read, my guilt, and pardon there I see.

Lord, I believe; O deal with me,
As one who has Thy Word believed!
I take the gift, Lord, look on me,
As one who has Thy gift received.

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