As some of you know, our family has had a tough winter. In fact, Kristin, our oldest daughter, has struggled with several serious health issues and other stresses in her life the past three or four months. The severe headaches she experienced last fall seem to be finally under control, with the proper medications, and she received a rare diagnosis of issues with the blood vessels of her brain. While it may not be curable, the condition will hopefully be controlled through medication and may not negatively impact her life on a regular basis.
Just when we thought everything was handled and we knew the fight we had on our hands, Kristin was dealt another medical crisis to deal with. It seems that during the tests and diagnosis of her brain problems (Call Fleming Syndrome), the doctors noticed some irregularities with her kidneys. Of course, this led to another entire round of tests and finally required three kidney biopsies that confirmed she is suffering from something named IGA Nephropathy, a disease caused by protein that is attacking the small blood vessels in her kidneys. The stage three diagnosis caught us all by surprise and has put the entire family in alert mode. We have watched and studied and learned that we all should have much healthier eating habits.
In Kristin’s case, this means the elimination of most protein, a screeching halt to the use of salt and severe cutbacks in almost all the foods that taste good or are what we lovingly refer to as “comfort food”. She is on an oral “cocktail” of drugs that will hopefully allow her to enter remission and reduce the possibility that she will need dialysis or kidney transplants. I have never seen anyone so dedicated to changing things so quickly. Kristin gets huge points for her transition to healthier eating and living habits – in fact, she is leading the charge for the rest of us as well.
Aside from the limited choices of food that she now has, Kristin has maintained an incredible attitude through all this. We were able to finally close on selling her old home, which is a great blessing, and her coworkers at church have been most understanding with the tests and other appointments she has had to attend to as these health needs continue.
Probably the thing that Kristin misses more than anything is the taste of salt. Bland is one thing, but life sure gets “tasteless” when almost every trace of salt is removed from her daily diet. As I said, her attitude is great but I have observed on many occasions that Kristin has noticed the loss of taste that comes from a limited diet without salt. Maybe this has made her more attuned to the textures of food, but eating isn’t the pleasure that it used to be. Therein lies the lesson for this evening.
According to the Bible, we are to be the light and salt of the world. Jesus expects us to add “taste” to the world and to highlight and enhance the world toward a more Christ centered state. Jesus goes so far as to say that salt that has lost its “saltiness” is useless – and that’s not what He wants for us. I’ll bet Kristin could preach a sermon on this topic just based on the experiences that she has had the last several months – how food has lost its taste and eating isn’t the experience that it used to be.
The verse for this evening contains words spoken by Jesus Himself. We are told, in Matthew 5:13, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.” In other words, we are expected to add spice to the world and enhance life here on earth. And how do we do that? By leading people to Christ and letting them know how much more taste there is to life when Jesus is Lord and Savior of your life.
My encouragement this evening is that Jesus doesn’t want us to be lukewarm or tasteless in our faith. He wants us to be full of flavor and add to the lives of others as well as to our own faith journey. My prayer is that you will persevere and commit to being the spice of life. And while Kristin may not be able to use salt, she continues to be an ambassador of salt and light in the world. All of us should be so committed to a Christ centered existence and to be able to live our faith in the face of adversity. Great job, Kristin – we love you, and to the rest of our readers, have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…