As I mentioned, I used to have a chocolate addiction. It was of the calibre that controls. My body craved those delectable, dark morsels and a steady rate of consumption occurred throughout each day. I couldn’t remember a day since childhood that hadn’t included chocolate or ice-cream, such was the depth of my relationship with sweets. They were my go-to. These sorts of entrenched, long-term habits are difficult to break.
Just as one addicted to nicotine might vaguely wonder if their addiction is killing them, the copious amounts of chocolate I daily consumed led me to think likewise. But I wasn’t ready to stop. I’m not convinced I could have if I’d tried.
One Sunday morning after the sermon, the pastor invited anyone who needed to lay something down at the altar to come to the front of the church. They wouldn’t have to say what it was, but just quietly come to the altar and hand it over. The Holy Spirit nudged me to go up and relinquish chocolate. I tried to ignore the prompt. Again it came.
My internal struggle went something like this: I’m not going up there. It’s just chocolate. People will think it’s actually important, like I’m cheating on my spouse or something. I’ll just quietly deal with it right here. But by the third prompting I knew that somehow I’d better listen. Forgetting about what others might think I forced myself up to the front.
When I returned to the pew my husband leaned over and whispered, “Did you go up for chocolate?” I was stunned. I thought I had done a decent job of hiding my addiction. Later, when I asked him how he knew it was about chocolate he told me, “I knew you had a problem when one day you told me you only ate seven truffles that day.”
Once home from church I discovered I no longer craved chocolate or any sweets for that matter. And it stayed that way. For a long while I didn’t eat chocolate at all for fear of falling backwards. When I eventually did, it no longer held the same allure. I could go to a restaurant and be just as satisfied with apple pie over chocolate mousse. I have since thought that surely there must have been larger faults that God could have chosen to heal other than my prolific chocolate consumption. But he was just getting warmed up.
I have also considered that there’s a chance I wouldn’t have been healed if I hadn’t set aside my pride, listened to the Holy Spirit, and obediently dragged myself to the front of the church to release my addiction. I needed to humble myself and set aside the fear of what others may have thought to let God deal with this consuming, unhealthy behaviour.
Here’s the real point. God still heals. Sometimes instantly, sometimes over a longer period of time, and sometimes not at all. But he still can. Sometimes he saves us from ourselves by plucking us out of the problem. Other times he allows our situation to linger a bit longer, leads us through it, and teaches us some deeper things about ourselves during it. (see: Moving Mountains: or how I was literally brought to my knees.) Either way, he’s there to help us at all times and as many times as needed.
It doesn’t have to be chocolate. It can be anything that we overindulge in, find we can’t control, or use to fill the emptiness—several others of which I’ve noticed in myself in the years since the chocolate fix. You can bring whatever it is to God, and hand it over to him effectively letting go and acknowledging, I need help. He’ll aid you in your struggle so you don’t have to face it alone. He’ll heal your soul—and all the empty places you’ve been attempting to fill— when you come near to him.
And large crowds came to Him, bringing with them those who were lame, crippled, blind, mute, and many others, and they laid them down at His feet; and He healed them.
~ Matthew 15:30