Tod mun pla. Naam Phrik Ong. Laab.
These are just a few of the exotic dishes our family discovered during our recent trip to Thailand, adding to our knowledge of the many common Thai dishes familiar to Western palates, such as Pud thai, Khao soi, and green papaya salad. The dishes we savored are largely unknown outside of Thailand unless you are a compulsive foodie or have very generous Thai friends, willing to cook these delicious meals for you. We were exposed to regional cooking, influenced by Burmese and Cambodian cuisine as well as the native tribal peoples. We were also exposed to the stark possibility that our daughter may be exposed to peanuts. She suffers from a severe peanut allergy and because peanuts are ubiquitous in Thai cooking, we were hypervigilant and prepared for a worst-case scenario. It was all around us!
Epi-pens and antihistamines were always traveling with us. I also created a sign, that is reproduced below, that stated in Thai that no peanuts could be eaten. Each member of our family carried this with them and flashed it to anyone who served us food.
Finally, I obtained a cell phone app that translated the quotation, “I’m allergic to nuts. If I eat these foods or foods that have touched them I will go into shock and could die.” Mated with a similar image above of no peanuts, the phrase could be translated into Thai and 25 other languages. Thankfully, there were no close calls or allergic reactions.
At the end of the trip, we reflected upon the experience. We were thankful to God that He protected our daughter and were struck by the irony of the situation. The only times our daughter was rushed to the emergency room because of an anaphylactic reaction to peanuts have been in our home state of California! Ironically, in a location where the life-threatening peanuts were all around us, our hypervigilance minimized the risk. At home, I let my guard down, potentially exposing my daughter to completely avoidable and risky situations.
Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Matthew 26:41 (ESV)
So often in my spiritual walk with God, do I find myself in a similar predicament. When I encounter an obviously dangerous spiritual situation, my spiritual radar is on high alert and I take numerous precautions. I pray continuously in my mind and send text messages to my closest Christian brothers and wife asking for their prayerful support. I listen intently, always testing and comparing what I am hearing to the Truth of God’s Word. God has never failed to protect me in these situations. It is when I let my guard down and lapse into spiritual complacency that disaster usually befalls me. It may be a casual encounter with friends that leads to unwise gossip or a comment from a colleague sharing a questionable investment strategy. So many opportunities to fail and sin that could have been avoided if I had remained spiritually hypervigilant. Indeed, my flesh will always be weak.
As believers, we need to always remain steadfast and wholly committed to nurturing the precious relationship that God has given us through life and salvation in the Name of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.