I write to you tonight from the bitter depths of a soul in despair. Psalm 42, 88, and 102 best describe to you what I am undergoing and what I feel is happening to me. "All His breakers and billows" have overwhelmed me to such an extent that like the sons of Korah I cry out, "Why have You forgotten me?" (Psalm 42:9) In this case, my enemy is my own subtle idolatry of food and drink. That's right--you've read me correctly; your pastor is an idol worshipper who regularly paid respects at the foot of the idol of food and belly. I always interpreted the word "celebration", for example, as a banquet of food and drink. I couldn't "celebrate" apart from the delights of a meal. This idol-worshipping mentality has figured prominently in my current predicament. I was scheduled to have a stent placed in the stenosis, the area where tumor pressure was narrowing the alimentary canal, back when this was still a feasible option. But I made what now appears to be a critical blunder when at the last minute I decided to cancel the procedure and trust the chemo to keep the narrowing at bay. And the major reason I cancelled the procedure? Because it would necessitate a change in diet! That's right; an apparent alteration in the meal plan has led to my now having absolutely no meal plan whatsoever! I could not in the final analysis tolerate any kind of change whatsoever laid to my great idol of food and culinary delight! Now I face the prospects of a life without normal food of any kind whatsoever. A decision based on fear instead of faith; a decision based on idolatry, instead of godliness, has wrought a severe affliction.
Now a little background is in order. Any dutiful son of Ralph Blaine Pollock, who desired to emulate his father, as I did, would be pressed not to become a worshipper at the altar of belly and beverage by following too well what I now know to be a bogus parental example. Food was my father's business! As a General Foods (GF) employee, he sold Maxwell House and Yuban Coffee as well as other GF products to restaurants, hotels and hospitals across the Northwest. He was good at what he did and rapidly advanced up the company ladder. But, the passion for food greatly affected the Pollock household and I was totally taken in by it as well. Dad was the meal planner and cook; Mom and the kids were clean-up. Dad was planning tomorrow's menu even before he finished dessert from the current days bill of fare. I marvelled at this partly because Mom, who didn't share Dad's food passion, always made a critical point of it at the dinner table while Dad shrugged off the criticism by pressing ahead with tomorrow's menu plan. I decided as an impressionable young man of ten and eleven that if food was the important to my dad then it was going to be a priority with me as well! A warning to any fathers is that your passions tend to become your sons' and daughters' pursuits and priorities, so be careful where your passions lie! This is not to excuse or in any way ameliorate my own guilt; I stand condemned by my own sinful choices, but parental prioities may become a trap to your children, so beware!
Now my "friends and lovers" are far away and I am reckoned among those who go down to the pit (Psalm 88). I resemble a pelican of the wilderness and my bones cling to my flesh (Psalm 102:5 & 6); my days are like a lengthened shadow and I wither away like grass" (vs. 11). This best describes where my soul lies; among the "ruffians" produced by my own sin and idolatry! God's mercies are sometimes severe, His lessons best learned in the hottest fires. I've doubted His power and goodness in recent days, but like the son of Korah, I'm clingling sometimes precariously to the hand of the Lord. Pray for me and my family.