I don’t know if the reality show, Biggest Loser, is still a thing or not. I suppose it had its benefits. I know in my place of employment the idea of weight loss competition was pretty popular, and my office was one of the weigh-in stations each year. I was glad to participate, since it meant I could hand out weekly info on health topics, and sometimes even serve healthy snacks from my own kitchen.
Kale chips were not a particular favorite. Just sayin’.
I began to be somewhat concerned with what I saw, however, and my mantra evolved into “it’s not about losing weight, it’s about gaining health”. Weight and health are certainly related, but weight is merely an indicator of health and definitely not the whole picture. There are other, even more important considerations such as BMI, exercise, nutrition, sleep, and stress management.
And yet I would still have some precious folks distressed when, despite the fact that their clothes were fitting better, and they were eating better and exercising, yet the scale in my office didn’t change much, if at all.
Then there were the ones that would do things just to lose weight, without regard to what it was doing to the body. It was all about that one number—YIKES!
I find that thought an interesting parallel with Paul’s well-known observation:
“Who shall ever separate us from Christ’s love? Shall suffering and affliction and tribulation? Or calamity and distress? Or persecution or hunger or destitution or peril or sword? Even as it is written, For Thy sake we are put to death all the day long; we are regarded and counted as sheep for the slaughter.”
If anyone understood tribulation from first-hand experience, it was Paul. His CV included a long list of various and sundry unpleasantness.
But in my culture, when life gets “unpleasant” (to put it mildly), we tend to blame God, or doubt His love. If-God-loves-me-so-much-how-could-He-let-this-happen sort of thing. Breaking it down to mathematical lingo: Good times = God’s love.
Or, as a corollary, we tend to equate God’s blessings with His favor, and thereby the indication of our own spiritual health. We weigh out the scale of blessings and assume (a very dangerous word, indeed!) that we’re spiritually healthy. Or vice versa, things aren’t looking so great, therefore I must be incurring God’s wrath.
Which may be so…or not. Sometimes God’s best blessing in a particular situation is His discipline. And discipline doesn’t mean I’ve necessarily done anything wrong, either. As not-fun as it may be, character development is still one of God’s highest priorities for His children.
Again, I find it quite revealing that Paul uses Christ’s love in the same thought with peril, persecution, and calamity. The next verse is just as revealing: “for Thy sake”. Now what do I do with that? What does the flat tire, or worse, the child’s chemo, have to do with Christ?
Everything. Maybe that’s the point Paul was trying to make in his earlier comforting and, at the same time, most challenging statement:
“We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.”
In other words, there’s more going on than the numbers on the scale.