No Immunity

Welcome  Today I’m talking about no immunities from hardships.  Life is hard, full of unplanned and unwanted difficulties, yet it is part of our life in an imperfect world.  Today’s recipe is a Wellness Wednesday soup…Lentil and Rice soup in the slow cooker.  Thanks for joining me today.  Note–I may receive a small compensation from affiliate links found on this blog post.  For further information, please see my Terms and Disclosure page.

Food For Thought  Life can seem so unfair.  It seems all we see on the news or in our online newsfeed is BAD news.  Crime, disease, suffering, natural disasters, and people just being stupid is everywhere!  Our loved ones battle illnesses and financial struggles.  We may even face some of these things ourselves.  So how do we press on and persevere in the race to our spiritual reward?  Well, when momma said “Life’s not fair,” all those times growing up, she was right.  Goodness is no guarantee to an easy or smooth life.  But we can guard our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:7.)  We can strengthen our faith and arm ourselves with God’s truths when life is smoother so that we are saturated with the protection of His word when life gets tougher.

In the past year I have been amazed at the number of people of faith that have been hit with hardships.  Worshipers being shot in church probably stunned me most.  I have also known fellow Christians that have endured having their child killed in a car accident, infertility, cancer, divorce, or watching their child struggle with terminal illness.  I see these people from the outside…their goodness, their hearts, their faith, and wonder why God would ever bring these struggles to them, what could they have possibly done to deserve this when all they’ve ever done is try to love and serve Him.  But God knows them from the inside, and He didn’t bring the struggles to them…He simply allowed them to happen for a purpose greater than what I can possibly know or understand.  There are so many people I wish didn’t have to struggle with these hardships, but I have seen the flip-side of a few of these cases.  Some people are able to use their experience to advocate for others in similar circumstances.  Some become leaders of faith and perseverance by sharing their stories.  Others are able to connect with, encourage, and inspire others by having empathy for their situation.  Perhaps the experience allows them to model deep faith to others.  Sometimes, we experience our own spiritual growth through times of hardship.  But the important thing to remember is we do not experience these difficulties as punishment or testing from God (1 Corinthians 10:13).  No one is immune from difficulties while we live here on earth, but we are in control of how we respond during these times.

Now I will be first to admit that it is easy for someone like me to talk about no immunities from hardship and share others’ stories.  I’ve experienced difficulties, but I thank God daily (especially since I restored my faith in the past few years) that He has “spared me the big stuff.”  I have some health issues, but nothing that prevents me from living a productive life.  I can speak the words of Paul in Philippians 4:12, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.”  I’ve even had my personal character attacked, but I am immensely blessed to have never experienced the deepest types of loss or grief or hardship as some have.  It’s nothing I have done in my life that has earned this favor, it’s God’s power and answers to my daily prayers.  So whatever it is you are dealing with on this day, hold on to your faith, pray, and believe that God is with you and blessings will come.

Today’s Prayer  My Dear Heavenly Father, we come to You not understanding why good people experience bad things, but we ask for Your hand to be on them and their situations so that they may see Your power and experience Your unending grace, love, and mercy.  God, I thank You for sparing me any big hardships or difficulties in my life and I thank You for the blessings You deliver to me each and every day.  God, we pray that You will continue to help us grow in our faith and trust, so that when we do experience difficulties, we will always turn to You and stand firm in our beliefs.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

Today’s Scripture  In 2 Corinthians chapter 12, Paul shares a lesson for us regarding a “thorn in my flesh.”  This is not referring to a literal thorn, and based on the commentary I studied, not even a physical illness.  The thorn is most likely referring to a difficulty or challenge, a hardship of some type, possibly persecution.  We know it was unpleasant because in verse 8, Paul says, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.”  I have a feeling that most of us have been there, and in some instances have pleaded much more than just three times for God to take away the difficulty.  Here is the lesson Paul learned in his situation and the words apply to our struggles, as well.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10  “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Additional Reading Psalm 13; Psalm 31; Proverbs 4:20-27

Today’s Recipe  It is that time of year when we’re trying to boost our physical immunities to the viruses and bacteria that seem to run amok during late fall and winter.  A couple of weeks ago, my daughter had a bad head cold.  Last week I had a virus that resembled the flu, but luckily it was over in 48 hours.  This week my husband is battling bronchitis.  What we need is the healing power of soup!  Medical professionals say there is no scientific evidence to support the healing properties of chicken soup for when you’re sick.  My husband and I were discussing this the other evening and I had to weigh in with my opinion.  When I’m sick, I crave something warm for my chest.  I’ll set hot towels or a heating pad on my chest because it feels like it loosens any congestion there (as an asthmatic, that’s where most of my illnesses settle), or even a cup of hot cocoa pressed up against me.  So my theory is not so much the ingredients of the soup, but more about the hot liquid going through the body, although I think herbs and spices can open up sinus passages, too.  I have a Classic Chicken Noodle Soup and Creamy Chicken and Corn Chowder that would be so good for these “healing” properties.  Today I bring you Lentil and Rice Soup from the slow cooker.

Lentil and Rice Soup
A hearty combination of lentils, rice, vegetables, broth, and herbs will warm you inside and out.

Slow Cooker Lentil and Rice Soup (makes 10-12 servings; great for a crowd or a week of lunch left-overs)

  • 2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 lb dry lentils, rinsed and checked for stones
  • 1/2 cup Arborio rice (this will add creaminess to the soup; you can use regular white rice, but I don’t recommend instant rice in the slow cooker)
  • 1/2 lb baby carrots
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 TBS minced garlic (from jar)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 TBS Penzey’s Mural of Flavor or 1 tsp. each oregano, basil, and thyme
  • hot sauce, sour cream, and/or fresh chives for garnish, if desired

In large slow cooker, place all of the ingredients, except garnishes.  Stir gently to combine.  Cook on low 6-8 hours.  Garnish as desired.

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