I have to confess. I’ve been struggling with envy. Huge amounts of envy. Not all the time, but every time I see certain posts on social media, or I see someone having something I can’t have but want. Let me explain.
For years, I’ve suffered with dietary problems. Over fifteen years ago, I had to give up eating meat because of an allergy. That allergy grew worse to the point that even a little cross-contamination makes me extremely sick.
Six months ago, my doctor did tests because of further dietary and other issues and found that I have an auto-immune disease. That meant going on a gluten free, dairy free diet on top of being vegetarian. Not much fun as I wept over the block of cheese in the refrigerator. (That isn’t much of an exaggeration. lol)
A few weeks ago, my doctor did a food allergy test and found out I’m allergic to most foods, so now I’m on a stricter diet to eliminate the biggest problem. On this diet I can only eat certain vegetables, dried beans, quinoa, raw nuts, eggs, and a few other items. I can’t have coffee at all, which is very dangerous for my husband. lol It’s so limited, I can’t even look at my husband’s cheese in the drawer.
Why the envy? Because as we go through the pandemic, people are cooking and baking. They are sharing recipes and food pictures. None of these are on my diet, but they all look so delicious I can almost taste them.
I got to the point where I started to grumble. Mind you, I want to do this diet so I can start to heal some of my allergy issues, but giving up so much is hard. Seeing people who eat whatever they want and not suffer creates envy if I’m not careful. A lot of envy.
That’s when God reminded me of the Israelites. In Exodus 16, the Israelites are in the wilderness and they complain. Loudly.
“And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” Exodus 16:3 (NKJV)
After God brought them out of the horrors of slavery in Egypt, here they are bemoaning their lack of variety and abundance in food. They are envious of their past lifestyle. Sound familiar? They looked back and wanted what wasn’t good for them, just like I looked back and longed for what made me sick.
The Bible says that manna tasted like wafers with honey. I imagine the taste was very good. How long did they eat the manna?
“And the children of Israel ate manna forty years, until they came to an inhabited land; they ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.” Exodus 16:35 (NKJV)
They ate manna for forty years. Forty. Years. Wow, that’s a long time to eat the same food day in and day out. Yet, this is what God provided for them along with the quail that came later. He always supplied what they needed.
I truly understand why the Israelites complained. And, I had to repent of my complaining attitude and envy. After all God has done for me, I should never wail about some small discomfort. He has provided wonderful vegetables that make an excellent soup. I can have a stir-fry with a variety of vegetables and egg added in. I love stir-fry. On Easter, I even made a loaf of dairy free/gluten free/sugar free/yeast free bread. And it was pretty good. (Pictured above.)
I may not have much variety on my diet, and I may miss a lot of the sauces and tastes I love. And coffee. Coffee. Sigh. But, God has provided for me. He is giving me what I need and why should I look at something with envy when it isn’t good for me?
This applies to food. To material goods. To gifts. And to many other areas in my life. I must be content with what God has given me, not envious of what others have.
I am blessed beyond belief.