by Ellen Grace Libres (36th Batch)
“Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13
After class, we used to go out and have our lunch together with my adult students. They really wanted me to experience the best foods and delicacies they have. On the first time we went out for lunch, I told them about the food I do and don’t eat. The rest of them were already acquainted with Adventism for a long time but some were just newly acquainted with SDA practices so they got surprised and felt regretful. After a few months of going out with them, I felt the comfort of and respect for our beliefs especially when it comes to food.
But I never expected that one day they would test my faith. They had invited me for lunch and at that moment I was so hungry that I couldn’t even wait for the food to be served.
After a few minutes of waiting, a delicious and savory noodle dish was served with only pan-fried “pajeon” as side dish. I wondered if it was the first time that they ordered only one kind of food. Everyone was already enjoying the palatable food except me because it is my practice to check the food before eating. I noticed that there were shrimps mixed with it. With kindness, I told them I wouldn’t eat because there were shrimps and they started chatting in their language as if like scoffers.
Then one of them gave me a slice of the side dish and told me it’s made of vegetables fried together. When I took a little bite, the taste was so strange that I began to doubt again.
“What is this?” I asked her. She just answered me with a smile and began to insist that I must eat because it was for me. To make it more irritating, she told me, “Grace, just once please. Anyway, no one sees you.”
After she said that, I carefully looked at the food again. I then found out it was squid mixed with vegetables!
With a still countenance, I began to pray in my mind, “Lord, help me to stand over them and may you forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”
Before I could even end my prayer and give them a response, one of them spoke for me. “Don’t force her to eat and stop teasing Grace.”
Courageously, I told them I will not eat and NEVER taste such kind of food no matter what. In short, I went out from the restaurant that day with a hungry stomach but with a joyful heart knowing that God helped me stand against their temptation.
As I arrived in my room, I began to contemplate about the thing that just happened. I realized that “JUST ONCE” is an alluring line that could lead to twice, thrice and so on. Had I agreed with them that day, I know I couldn’t resist should they persuade me again next time. I could have given Satan the chance to lose my faith.
1 Peter 5:8 says that Satan prowls around like a roaring lion seeking for someone to devour. The prince of darkness is always watching us. One wrong action will give him the opportunity to assail us and our works.
Everyday we are in the midst of trials and temptations. But God has a promise for us in 1 Corinthians 10:13:
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape that you may able to endure it.”
Let us stand for our faith and be still. If God is with us, who can be against us?