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Roger Campbell: When losing is really winning

Do you recognize me?" a woman asked following a service at her church.

"I know I should," I replied, trying to remember her name.

"I've lost 90 pounds since you were here last," she announced proudly.

No wonder I hadn't remembered her. What made her success in slimming possible? Self-control.

In trusting God for strength, she had found the discipline she needed to achieve her weight loss goal and knowing I had written on the subject was eager to tell me of her desired accomplishment.

Not everyone appreciates my long effort to help those struggling with this very personal problem.

"A minister writing about losing weight?" one questioned. Some do more than question.

While being interviewed on a call-in radio talk show I was scolded soundly by a listener who called to complain about my Biblical approach to weight loss. She accused me of using valuable time and effort to teach concepts on a subject in which God has no interest.

At one time, I would have agreed with this angry caller. Now I know I was wrong.

God is interested in helping us overcome every problem we face. Since He cares about flowers, clothing them with beauty (Matthew 6:28-30), we can be sure He cares about our health, our appearance and all of our other needs. If we mean more to our Heavenly Father than fowl or flowers, He must be interested in all the problems that eat away at us, taking away the joy of living.

My friend, Larry, had such a severe weight problem that at 19 he was confined to bed. He weighed 750 pounds and spasmodic weight loss efforts were but temporary fixes. In the early hours of one morning, he stared at the ceiling and said, "Lord, I'm impossible. Make me possible!"

The next morning, Larry walked across his room and shortly after that was able to walk across the yard. He committed himself to discipline in eating and exercise which over time enabled him to lose 600 pounds. When word got out about his success in losing weight he became a regular guest on the national talk show circuit. What had seemed to be impossible for Larry became possible through God-given self control.

Richard Ely, a busy pastor, wrote to me saying he had found success in losing weight through walking. He said he had to admit that his weight problem had been spiritual and by the time his letter arrived his faith commitment had enabled him to lose 50 pounds. Describing his new way of life, he said, "I've discovered the time walking is a precious time when I can talk and listen to the Lord."

On the wall of my study are the words: "God can move your mountain." Name your mountain and God can move it! He moves hills and bumps in the road, too.

Roger Campbell is an author, a broadcaster and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years. He can be reached at rcministry@ameritech.net.

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