The doors slid open and there she was. Just to the left of me sat the most beautiful, sweetest smelling pineapple you have every seen in your life. I picked her up to get a better look. She was firm yet soft; bright green and yellow skin protected the juicy fruit she contained within; tall green leaves topped her beautiful body and she screamed out to me, "buy me! Buy me!"
There I stood deliberating- should I, should I not, should I, should I not? My heart so wanted to take her home with me. I could already picture it in my mind the yummy fruit salad I could create- the juicy strawberries, the sweet cantaloupe, the delicious blueberries, maybe throw in some watermelon and a few peaches. Then, oh yes, then I would finish my fruit salad creation off with this most excellent pineapple.
So, what was the dilemma? Why was I standing there debating in my mind if I should or should not take her home and provide her with the best life possible? Well, I'm allergic to pineapple. Not like deathly allergic, but allergic enough to be miserable for days after consuming this most excellent fruit. It all started when I was in college. I had gone to visit my grandparents for the weekend. My grandmother made some kind of fruit dip that contained crushed pineapple for us to enjoy with apples and freshly sliced pineapple. I ate apples, pineapple, and fruit dip all weekend. It was so good! By Sunday afternoon I was in pain. I could hardly swallow because ulcers filled my mouth and lined my throat. The ulcers had to take a number to get in line because there were so many of them. Not realizing what was going on I enjoyed a few more servings of the yummy fruit and dip because the coolness of it going down was the only relief I was getting. Long story short, by Monday morning I was in the doctor's office, at this point having to spit out my saliva in a cup because I couldn't swallow at all. The doc determined that the cause of this infirmity was the delicious, very acidic pineapple I had gorged myself on over the weekend. His remedy? No more pineapple and several days worth of steroids.
So, you can see the dilemma I was in as I stood there admiring this beautiful work of creation. Not heeding to the still small voice within me that was saying-"don't do it, don't do it! Do you remember when?"- I took her home with me. As soon as I got her home, before I put up any of the other groceries, I chopped off her head, peeled the skin away from her bright yellow body watching the juice pour out, and cut her up into bite size pieces- that sounds a little gruesome, doesn't it? Anyway, I immediately began enjoying this juicy, sweet, delicious pineapple. It was just as I had remember it to be.
Every morning for the next two days I enjoyed a yummy fruit salad for breakfast. No ulcers, no swelling throat, no spitting of my saliva into a cup... until the third day. The third day rolled around and up from the grave she arose- swelling throat, ulcers, sinus drainage, raspy voice. Doom! Misery! And all for what? A few pieces of yummy, delicious, beautiful, juicy pineapple that I knew I should NOT eat in the first place? Was it worth it? Uh, no. I'm still, a month later, suffering the consequences of this decision. I'll spare you all the details of the hacking cough and sore throat and the like, but it has not been good.
Today is my birthday and as I sat this morning with the Lord I thought about many of the foolish decisions I've made in my life- times when an opportunity appeared to me to be the best choice, relationships that seemed to be "the one" that would be exactly what I needed, career choices that sounded as if my career would be advanced. Many times I've made decisions based on impulse and what has LOOKED to be really good.
I couldn't help but recall Eve in the garden when tempted by the enemy to go against what God had specifically commanded otherwise. The enemy tempted her with the appearance of the fruit, "Doesn't this LOOK good? Surely something that LOOKS this good can't be bad for you." He made her doubt the consequences that were sure to come from deliberately disobeying her Creator, "Did God REALLY say you will die? You won't REALLY die, you'll become like God."
I thought about Jonah when God commanded him to go to Nineveh to preach His message of repentance and hope. Jonah's response as he surveyed the situation- "You won't me to go where? And do what? I'm not going to those people with any kind of message. LOOK at them! Absolutely not!" I wonder how the view looked from the belly of the big fish!?!
And then I thought about Daniel. "Bow down only to the king or be thrown into the lion's den," was the decree that came to the people. Faced with a situation that was a no brainer and met by all with immediate allegiance to the king, Daniel, too, obeyed and bowed to the King. The difference? Daniel looked to his King, his Lord, his Deliverer whom he knew would meet him in the den and rescue him from the mouths of the lions. What LOOKED to all as eminent death for Daniel, LOOKED to God as a man who loved the Lord with all his heart, mind, and soul. Daniel LOOKED at the situation and saw it as an opportunity to glorify the Lord through his actions.
There are times in our lives when things look good, sound good, smell good, feel good, and taste good, but those characteristics aren't what we are to base our decisions upon. Anything we do, any action we make, any journey we embark on, and any relationship we begin should all be directed by God, lead by the Holy Spirit, based upon and tested against God's Word, and bathed in prayer. Why? So that we aren't lead into situations that will have long term negative effects on the health of our emotions, our physical bodies, and our spirits.
"21) Test everything. Hold on to the good."1 Thessalonians 5:21, NIV