Never say "Never!”
The only Americans eating raw fish in 1976 were the hapless fraternity pledges required to swallow a live goldfish. But I was in Japan, where normal people thought sushi was a treat. I had no problem avoiding it when dining at home in Yamagishi. But, then came that fateful day when we were dinner guests in a Japanese home.
As soon as we arrived I headed into the kitchen to join his wife and mother who were preparing food. But I was quickly shooed out. As honored guests my husband and I were ushered into the dining room and seated with several others, all men.
Sato-San gave each of us a lacquered box and a pair of chopsticks. I slowly lifted the lid and peeked into the round, red container…and what to my wondering eyes should appear? Ten, (yes, ten!) rectangles of vinegared rice topped with raw fish–including raw octopus.
I loved my husband, but that wasn’t enough love to entice me to eat my first bite of raw fish. Ever since God called us to serve Him as missionaries to Japan He had given us a love for the Japanese people. Even my desire to not offend our host wasn’t enough love to persuade me to down ten pieces of raw fish.
But there remained a rock-solid reason strong enough for me to do the right thing, a strength beyond myself to surrender my stubborn will. So I joined the gathering in chorusing “Itadakimasu” (“I humbly and gratefully receive it”)—somewhat said like a prayer—tucked my fingers around my chopsticks, and lifted the first piece of sushi I’ve ever eaten into my mouth. I would do it for Jesus’ sake.
What about you? What are you facing that tilts your “will not do” scale? Forgiving a huge offense? Asking for forgiveness–even if it was only a tiny bit your fault? Accepting peacefully what you can’t change? Maybe you can’t do it for love of mother or spouse or country… Then do it for Jesus!