March 6, 2006 | 4 comments

I am happy to announce that I have proved God’s existence once and for all. It’s nice to finally have that whole question settled after all those thousands of years of humanity’s uncertainly on the issue. I’m not sure if people who don’t know me will accept this as proof, but my friends and family who are nonbelievers will surely fall to their knees and repent before God when they hear this story. Appropriately, it took place on Ash Wednesday…

So I don’t know if I totally understand Lent. I don’t even know if people who aren’t yet officially Catholic are supposed to participate in the rituals of Lent. So I had decided to kind of skip it this year, to just use it as a time of reflection and hopefully to pray more and get closer to God.

But then, last Wednesday morning, I was driving around and listening to everyone on Relevant Radio talk about what they were giving up for Lent. I decided that I would give up something too. Even if you don’t typically do that as a non-Catholic, I figured it couldn’t hurt to give up something I love to show God that I’m serious about this whole “trying to believe” thing. So I picked something dear to me, that I would never normally go without for 40 hours, let alone 40 days: wheat. For a pregnant carb-o-holic could happily live on pasta and French bread, this is a big deal. No bread. No tortillas. No pasta. No pizza. No pastries. The list goes on.

Oddly, I didn’t agonize over this decision much. The thought just popped into my mind and the decision was made.

That afternoon the weather was beautiful so I took my son out to a restaurant that has a great outdoor eating area. I had to run some errands before we arrived, so by the time we got there it had been six hours since I’d eaten. Keep in mind that I am pregnant. So to say that I was hungry and craving carbs in the understatement of the year. I ordered a cheeseburger and decided to treat myself to some of the restaurant’s famous handmade onion rings. As I waited for my food I hoped I’d have the strength not to eat the bun on the burger.

The food arrived and my stomach growled loudly as I poured salt and ketchup over the onion rings. I was having a hard time with the whole not eating the hamburger bun thing so I decided to drown my sorrows in the crispy fried goodness that lay before me. And then it hit me: onion rings are breaded. In flour. Which is made of…oh no!!!

Let me take a moment to explain to you my utter lack of willpower around certain types of foods. I literally cannot think of one single occasion in my life when I did not eat something that I wanted if it was in front of me. I’ve often thought that the only reason I’m not really fat is because I don’t keep tempting foods in the house. Because if it’s in front of me, I eat it. Period.

And here I was, pregnant and starving, with a plate of handmade, fresh onion rings in front of me. And I did not eat a single one. Not even a taste. I didn’t even have them taken away. I just asked the waitress to bring me a big salad and picked around the fries as I ate my bunless cheeseburger.

Anyone who knows me well knows that only possible explanation for the untouched onion rings on my plate that day is divine intervention. And the fact that I have still not had any wheat since then — even when my mother-in-law brought over a double-fudge chocolate cake, homemade sourdough bread, and raspberry and cream cheese pastries — closes the debate once and for all.

[My tone here is a bit tongue-and-cheek but, on a serious note, this newfound and very uncharacteristic willpower is absolutely stunning to me and is the closest thing I’ve felt to feeling God directly at work in my life. It’s a very interesting experience.]


  1. Colleen

    I laughed my head off reading this, as only a fellow onion ring lover could. Proof, indeed.

  2. KathyJo

    Made me smile, too. 🙂 It also made me think of a quote from At the Corner of East and Now by Frederica Mathewes-Green. She’s Orthodox, not Catholic, but I think the quote is apt anyway.

    “[W]hen worship is emotion-powered, it’s like a fun-park ride, and you’re being carried around as a treat. It’s only when those emotions fade and you get down to the business of doing the work, following the way, saying the prayers even when you don’t feel like it, that your stony heart begins to budge. It’s only the offerings done from deliberate will that bend the will and shape it to fit the will of God.”

  3. SteveG

    I thought this was a great and uplifting post too, and at the same time, there’s something serious here.

    I bet if you polled the average believer, almost all of them have had similar experiences to this. Something(s) seemingly small that they’d almost be embarrassed to share as ‘evidence’ of God’s presence, but that nonetheless to that person seems very compelling that God is indeed present and active in their life.

    I’ve had such experiences that I simply couldn’t attribute to coincidence, and I’d bet that most commenters here have had the same.

  4. Christine

    You know, Jen, that the Bible tells us that God is in the smallest things, not the biggest and most noticible. I can’t remember which prophet it was (Elijah?), but he was told that God would pass by him at a certain place. So the prophet went there, and there was a storm that passed by, but God wasn’t in it. There were other, similar, large events that happened, but God was not in any of those things. Then a small, whispering wind came, and the prophet hid his face and fell down in worship, for that was where God was. Not in what would seem obvious for the King of the Universe, but in the little stuff that you have to pay attention to see.

    Small things like resisting onion rings certainly qualify. And one of the things that I love when I read the Bible (esp. the New Testament) is how God is concerned even with little things that we might think are unworthy of His attention.

    And I love Kathy Jo’s quote, too.

    Thank God for His graces! Praise to Him on high!

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