by Niki Turner
With thousands sickened across Europe, and 22 reported deaths, scientists have traced the spread of a virulent form of the E. coli bacteria to a batch of bean sprouts from Germany.
|photo by Charles Haynes||via PhotoRee|
Twenty years ago, we were warned away from hamburgers after an E. coli outbreak began at a Jack-in-the-Box fast food chain in the Northwest U.S.
A couple years ago, it was peanut butter. Then spinach, or tomatoes. Maybe it was both. Now it's bean sprouts. It's enough to make you want to eschew the fresh veggies we're all supposed to be eating!
Balancing the influx of "latest studies" that tell us what to eat and what not to eat to avoid sickness and disease with the fear-mongering media headlines has become a constant battle for the general public. Overwhelmed by conflicting information, most of us have apparently given up and gone to McDonald's.
So what's the solution? Shall we adopt the fatalistic que sera, sera (what will be, will be) attitude? Shall we live in terror and uncertainty about the food we consume? Shall we look forward to the days of "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" when all our nutrition is encapsulated into three pills a day? (Think of the time we could save ... no cooking, no dishes, no grocery shopping!) Some of us might be able to handle the pill idea, but I'm betting our menfolk will balk. What's left to us?
Let's turn to the Word.
The Bible was written during a time when there was no refrigeration, no water purification, no pesticides, no irradiation of vegetables. The Old Testament is filled with instructions about the food the Hebrews were allowed, and not allowed, to consume. Many of those instructions have connections to health issues unknown to science at that time. (Undercooked meat can make you sick, shellfish can carry a deadly toxin, etc.)
Under the New Covenant, ratified by the blood of Jesus, we see a shift from a list of do's and don'ts to a mindset of, shall we say, eating by faith.
4 But Peter explained it to them in order from the beginning, saying: 5 "I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a vision, an object descending like a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came to me. 6 When I observed it intently and considered, I saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. 7 And I heard a voice saying to me, 'Rise, Peter; kill and eat.' 8 But I said, 'Not so, Lord! For nothing common or unclean has at any time entered my mouth.' 9 But the voice answered me again from heaven, 'What God has cleansed you must not call common.'
Acts 11:4-10 NKJV
I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
Rom 14:14 NKJV
There are all manner of debates about following the dietary guidelines of the Old Testament. If that's where your faith is, go for it. If not, follow Paul's example and eat by faith.
3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
1 Tim 4:2-5(from New International Version)
According to Paul's letter to Timothy, we can consecrate (set apart for our use) the food we eat through the word of God and prayer. I believe this is the historical inception behind our Christian tradition of "saying the blessing" or "saying grace" before we eat.
|photo by North60||via PhotoRee|
25 "So you shall serve the LORD your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you.
Ex 23:25-26 NKJV
That's a pretty amazing promise, one that is "yes, and amen," to us in Christ Jesus (2 Cor 1:19-20).
Back in the early '90s, during those first E. coli scares, my oldest daughter, still an infant, suffered from repeated bouts with gastroenteritis. It was never determined whether the stomach bug that put her in the hospital for two days was caused by E. coli, but it was a possibility. All I knew was that I was terrified. I turned to the Lord, and He led me to these verses.We began to thank God, and to declare Exodus 23:25 over every meal, and our family's health began to change.
We've had "stuff" since then on occasion, usually when we've gotten lax about exercising our faith for what we eat and drink, but overall, those bouts with the stomach flu decreased dramatically in number and severity since we began to consecrate our food with the word and prayer.
That simple act of "saying grace" might be more powerful than you thought! Put the word in your heart and make it more than a family tradition, more than a Rockwellian ideal, and more than a mere religious exercise. Do it with faith in the Word, faith in God's promises, and expect His results.
Niki Turner writes romantic fiction, Christian non-fiction, blog posts, articles in the local newspaper, lengthy grocery lists, and Facebook status updates. Her first completed manuscript won second place in the 2009 Touched By Love contest for contemporary category romance. Colorado natives, Niki and her husband of 20+ years have four children (three at home) and are new grandparents to a baby boy. In 1998 they planted a church in rural northwestern Colorado. Currently, they share their home with three teenage boys, two black Lab mutts, and Niki’s absurdly spoiled Westie, Archie. Niki can be found at In Truer Ink, her personal blog and website, here at Inkwell Inspirations, and at The Pastor’s Wife Speaks.