You know those days. The hard, the difficult, the excruciating seasons that leave you feeling like you’ve not done what you should, or worse, that you don’t know enough. I call those are the spinach days for they are doing a work of strength in you. In me.
I watched the original Popeye cartoons as a kid and became inspired to have greater strength. I was with my parents at a restaurant, at the wise age of 8, and saw spinach on the menu. Well. I just had to have it. My Mom said, “I don’t think you are going to like it.” There was no talking me out of the dark green vegetable that gave Popeye such strength and I had to test it.
It arrived in one of those beautiful, thick-walled diner bowls with the red stripe around the top. I was already imagining my biceps increasing in size. I took my fork and dug in and pushed a healthy serving into my little mouth. Well. It wasn’t what I expected, and my first thought was, “How in the world does Popeye eat this stuff straight from a can?”
Today, my choice is raw, fresh spinach which is much more flavorful than the canned variety of the 1960’s, but I did learn some valuable lessons. First, cartoons are cartoons are don’t accurately represent reality, but. I have learned that sometimes it’s the bitter things, the hard things, that give me greater strength.
There’s a verse often quoted by many found in Romans 8. Verse 28 explains it this way:
“All things work together for the good of them who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.”
In seeking the Lord, like a daily vitamin, He has promised to work even the hard things into good for my life. And I grow stronger in Him. We are all called into His purpose for us and we find the difficult things usually are part of the process that readies us for that calling.
Second, it’s the spinach days and seasons that uncover the chocolate in life.
I’m a lover of dark chocolate and enjoy those large, organic bars that are scored into little squares. You know them. A treat for my mouth is a piece of dark chocolate on my tongue and a cup of coffee in my hand. The spinach days that give me strength, help me appreciate the chocolate days where I can feel my growth in the Lord, and enjoy a richer closeness of His presence. It’s the spinach days that lead me closer to Him, exactly where He wants me to be, because that growing intimacy with Him is such a sweetness, a richness to my soul.
And I lean a little easier when times are hard, and I trust a little more when everything around me is shouting “Be afraid!” And I remember sooner that He has me, and even though there will be spinach days, there is chocolate to come simply because He has promised it.
Lean into the intimacy of the Lord. He wants to hear your heart when times are tough, and He wants you to know His heart for you – always gentle, patient, loving, and accepting of right where you are, always encouraging you forward. You have such great value, and especially on your spinach days, His eyes are always upon you. So appreciate the spinach, and look forward to the chocolate.
Grace & Peace from Him,
(c) Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC, August 29, 2014