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The Devil Calls at Lunchtime

I have a confession to make. It feels awkward to share, but here goes.

I get hangry, and sometimes I get it bad.

hangry (adjective),
INFORMAL
1. bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger.
“I get very hangry if I miss a meal”

I get hangry, and sometimes I get it bad.

For me this plays out as an irrational feeling that everyone is out to get me, that nothing is going according to my plan, and that none of the things that I’m trying to achieve are moving forward. At times, I feel like giving up. Then I look at the time and realise that it’s well after lunchtime and realise what the real problem is: I’m hungry, and a simple sandwich on fresh bread and a crunchy apple will enable me to return to the tasks at hand in a much better frame of mind.

When I was younger, I did not realise that I experienced this and would wonder why meetings around the middle of the day somehow managed to be so painful. Why was I continually looking at the clock around lunchtime? Why were 2pm meetings so much more productive than those at noon? If a meeting ran late into lunchtime, and let’s face it many do, I would be sitting there praying for patience and desperately hoping that no one in the room heard my stomach growl.

Age gives us the benefit of hindsight—which is the ability to understand an event or situation only after it has happened. I now know not to schedule meetings around lunchtime, or otherwise, to make sure that I eat beforehand. I also keep muesli bars and dried fruit close by in case I need a quick boost if I don’t have time for lunch.

When my kids were small, we would play lots of Duplo and trucks down on the floor together. They loved it and I loved them so I got right into it with sound effects and different stories that each became more outlandish than the last. It delighted me when they added to the story with their creativity. Once, we had a truck called Munt that had a special skill of making sure all the trucks had enough diesel every day—and if a truck was running low, there was a unique jerry can that could magically top it up. No prizes for guessing who my kids based this character on! I can remember looking at the clock on the wall and desperately hoping that it was lunchtime (and being thoroughly disappointed to discover that it was only 8 minutes since I last looked!) I was starting to feel hangry, but now the trucks needed to go on an urgent journey, so the story needed to continue with the narrator. The growling of my stomach was incorporated into the story (as a magic truck wash).

I can remember at times laying my head down on the floor and praying for inspiration and for lunchtime.

I can remember at times laying my head down on the floor and praying for inspiration and for lunchtime.

When the Devil Calls at Lunchtime

Sometimes, when I am hungry, the Devil uses my weakness. He tries many things to make me question God and the love that he has for me. He tried it with Jesus too when Jesus was hungry, not having eaten for 40 days and 40 nights (see in Matthew 4:1-11). I think it’s interesting that Matthew wants us to understand the weight of this by drawing the words out to be 40 days and 40 nights. Let me be clear that I would struggle with 40 hours of fasting and would not be a kind person at the end of that time. Jesus would have been very hungry here but when tempted by the devil he stands firm.

But he answered, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”’ (Matt 4:4)

When we hear the devil whisper—and he’s good at knowing our weaknesses and when to strike—we need to tell him to stop. Remember how much our precious Saviour loves us and the lengths that he goes to show us this and protect us in our weakness. We have ‘the full armour of God’ available to help us stand against such schemes, as Paul writes in Ephesians 6:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Eph 6:10-17)

Notice how it says ‘full armour’; not just a sword and maybe a helmet but a …

  1. ‘belt of truth’;
  2. ‘righteousness like armour on your chest’;
  3. ‘feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace’;
  4. ‘shield of faith’;
  5. ‘helmet of salvation and the
  6. ‘sword of the spirit’.
  7. And, especially, ‘prayer at all times in the Spirit with every prayer.’

The image here is very strong—Paul is letting us know that we are well covered.

The image here is very strong—Paul is letting us know that we are well covered.

From my creative play times with my kids, I have found it fascinating to see all the different types of armour that toy figurines come with in order to ‘fight battles’. There are many intricate and clever designs—just like the warriors of history. But we have the best armour: the armour of God. It can strengthen us and cover us with his ‘vast strength’. This should be incredibly comforting.

When you hear a whispering in your ear that you are not good enough, not strong enough, not smart enough or insert whatever is whispered to you that you are ‘not enough of’, we can put on the full armour of God and stand against the schemes of the devil. Buckle up that belt of truth, pull on that righteous armour, sandal up with the gospel of peace, slide your hand into the tough, strong shield of faith which you can use to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one and stand firm. I plan on doing this with a full stomach!

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