When I am fixin' to be "Nearer My God to Thee" sick, I crave clam chowder. I have been this way for as long as I can remember. It's not a comfort food because I am the only one in my family that likes it or makes it as far as I know. Apparently at the age of about 3 I collapsed in my mother's lap and told her I could prolly die if I didn't get some "clamp chowder." I have also been one of those people whose body temperature goes from 98.6 to 104 when I am sick. If you see me shopping for clams and clam juice, better go the other way as I am probably contagious.
Tonight as I was driving home from work I started craving soup. My first thought was that it is a cool night and I am tired. A can of soup would be easy and not too awfully bad for me. Then I started noticing a tickle in my throat and I began to wonder, "Am I getting sick?" I am not off probation yet, I don't want to be sick. It's not authorized for me to be sick for another 14 days. I am ignoring the tickle but I can't help but think about it. It's like if I tell you not to think of a tomato the very first thing that pops up in your head is what? A tomato. There is switch that gets flipped and suddenly tomato is your most used vocabulary word and your most frequent thought. It's like you're programmed to tomato think of tomato every couple tomato of seconds, right? Tomato.
So, what does it mean when I know my soul is sick and I am miserable but my first thought isn't to spend time with the one who can heal my soul? Why do I ignore my God? Does it mean my faith is puny? Do I need to worry about my salvation? Or does it mean I am stark raving normal and a saved sinner wrestling with my flesh? If I am depending on Jesus' life, death and resurrection to get my soul into heaven where it will ultimately be healed for good, should I worry that I don't crave time with Jesus like I crave clam chowder when I am sick?
Is there a time in our sanctification process where we honestly get to the place that we want Him more than we want out next breath? I know my soul gets parched without Him- but it sort of happens like the story of frogs getting acclimated to the water heating before it boils and they forget to jump out while it is getting hot until it's too late and they are dead. I don't want to be a frog.
When I was young a friend of our family, Susie, called my step-dad to ask him how to cook Dungeness crab. Susie was newly married and her husband loved fresh crab. Though she had never cooked crab before she had gone down to the local pier and purchased a few live ones to cook for a dinner party that night. Dad asked her if she had a big stock pot and she said she did. Next he told her it was easy to cook crabs, you just wash them off and put them in a pot of water and boil them until their shells turn an orange-red color. Satisfied that she could handle the task, Susie hung up. About an hour later we received a frantic call from her.
I answered the phone and heard a terrible commotion and Susie saying, "I need Ed! I need help!" I yelled and dad picked up the other extension in the living room immediately. The next thing I heard was him telling her to calm down and a terrible noise in the background. Finally through tears and what sounded like mortal fear I heard, "How do you keep the crabs in the pot???!" Susie had filled her stock pot with cold water and placed the pot on the stove. At first the crabs were content to be there but they must have gotten wind about what was coming next or she had turned on the fire and the water was beginning to heat. Soon it was every crab for himself and they were scrambling with all eight legs and snapping with both claws in an effort to vacate the stock pot. Susie was trying to beat them back into the stock pot using the lid as a shield and a big wooden spoon.
Dad, though laughing somewhat hysterically, told her it was best to have the water boiling before the crabs went into the pot. Susie was traumatized, the crabs eventually got cooked and her husband enjoyed a fine dinner. I have never forgotten the story. I have this mental image of Susie with her kitchen artillery trying to fend off the angry Dungeness crabs.
Hmm, I am trying to make a spiritual application out of this. Wouldn't it be good if I put on the armor of faith, took out the sword of the Word and did battle with my flesh lilke Susie fought to cook those crab? Or maybe it is better to think of myself like a crab and not a frog when I am in 'hot water.' Or perhaps it's just a fun story to tell at the end of a long day..... you decide.