Acquiring a Taste 14


O taste and see that the Lord is good;
How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

Psalm 34:8

 

IMG_8168A philosophy of food

My husband ascribes to the tried-and-true philosophy of food choices. Name an eating establishment and he’ll tell you what he orders. Red Robin? Bonsai burger! Texas Roadhouse? Fall-off-the-bone ribs! U-Swirl? Cake batter yogurt with Reese’s peanut butter cups!

I include the exclamation points because he anticipates his meals—every last, predictable time—with the gusto of an explorer setting out on an exotic expedition.

I love going out with my guy. Not only because he’s an engaging conversationalist who cares for my heart and makes me laugh. It goes deeper than that: I know my food is safe with him. Whereas he orders large servings on the off-chance I might steal a bite (or two, I mean three), I get to eat every single morsel of what’s on my plate. He won’t touch it.

A food adventure

Last week I visited one of my favorite downtown restaurants. The enthusiastic server’s eyes sparkled as she described the pasta special: Squid ink-injected linguine topped with fresh arugula and local tomatoes, accompanied by a feta-oregano pesto swimming in virgin olive oil and a side of pan-roasted scallops.

My eyes sparkled too. Ooooooohhhhh! Squid ink! Now there’s something new!

There was a time arugula would have gagged me, scallops would have grossed me out, and pungent oil would have made me wheeze. (Let’s not even talk about my earliest encounters with goat cheese, beets, and coffee.) But over time, I’ve acquired a taste for all of these things. (Still have a ways to go with liver though.)

Gulping and gasping

God’s Word tells us to taste and see that He is good. Are these tastes limited to the tried-and-true, easily-swallowed blessings? What about the piles on our plate that make us wrinkle our nose or pucker our cheeks? What about the samplings we’d rather spit out?

We happily gulp down the routine morsels of God’s goodness generously sprinkled into our lives (a stunning sunrise, a sweet hug, a Scripture that jumps off the page). We exclaim with delight over the exceptionally tasty dishes He doles out deliberately (an unexpected job opportunity, a prodigal returning home, a disease cured).

But what about the food that makes us gasp and sputter? What about an unexpected job loss, or a prodigal long-missing, or a disease that’s accelerating? How do we taste the goodness of the Lord in these?

I’m only asking…

…I don’t have a ready answer. Even though I know many of the helpful Scriptural principles (you probably know them too), my experience doesn’t qualify me as an expert.

As my husband often quotes, “Christianity is simply one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.”

I had a conversation with my sister-in-law yesterday about the possible reasons God allowed my mom to have a stroke at the age of 71 and then continue to live in tragic debilitation in these five years since. We came up with several ideas: Perhaps it’s because the grief of losing Mom entirely would have been too much for my dad to bear. Maybe it’s because of the testimony of true love my dad shows during the seven hours he spends every single day at her care facility. It might be so that our family can grow in trust and grace and fellowship and love.

As we mused together, it was as if we were sampling God’s goodness. It’s not that the answers made this food go down easily; swallowing continues to bring lumps to our throats and tears to our eyes. Yet, in some inexplicable way, sharing this meal together brought us one small step closer to developing a taste for God’s goodness in all its forms.

May we share a meal together?

There are a few items on my plate right now that I’d rather not taste. (Though writing that sentence convicts me of being a monumental whiner, because there are infinitely more morsels on my plate whose delectability I don’t deserve.)

But I hope I’m acquiring a taste for the goodness of the Lord in all these things, both the sweet and the bitter.

My niece Audrey, who is the Music Director for her Catholic church, invited me to listen to a song that has meant a lot to her lately. Since I respect my niece’s love for Jesus as well as her taste in music, I added the song to my playlist. (In fact, I added the whole, beautiful CD.) Listening to this song is one way God is helping me lately to pick up my fork and taste that He is good. Here’s a sampling:

I put all my hope in the truth of Your promise
And I steady my heart on the ground of Your goodness
When I’m bowed down with sorrow I will lift up Your name
And the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy

Maybe you’d like to sample the rest of this song? Here’s the link:

unnamedAudrey Assad: Good To Me

 

So glad to be tasting with you,

Jeanelle


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14 thoughts on “Acquiring a Taste

  • melissa stadtlander

    Thank you for your beautiful encouragement and gift of your heart and thoughts about His goodness! Again my heart is so very blessed as I read and agree with you. We do say “He is good” when our life is going so well and all is well but when things fall apart or when the road gets hard, it is hard to “taste and see”. Lately I have just been having to dwell on His love for me when I don’t understand. I speak His promises by faith because that is all I know to do. When I let myself wonder on His love, I can’t help but know that all that He gives and sends me can only be good because it is from His hand and His heart that is always for my good. It doesn’t make what I am “tasting” any easier but it does keep my focus on Him and it allows me to trust Him once again and taste His goodness, the bitter and the sweet. Thank you for sharing that beautiful CD, It has blessed me also. Tasting His goodness with you and learning how to “taste and see” more and more with each passing day.

    • Jeanelle Reider Post author

      And dear friend, as you dwell on His love for you, it so exquisitely reminds me to do the same. What you shared with our congregation a couple of Sunday mornings ago was such an eloquent and heartfelt expression of the same principle. You live this, Melissa, and that’s why people listen to you.

  • Theresa

    Good article and thoughts, Jeanelle. Reading through your article and the reader’s thoughts made me think about how God is asking us to savor him with all our senses. Taste, sight, hearing, feeling, not sure about smelling.

    • Jeanelle Reider Post author

      Thank you, Theresa. That’s a great reminder for me today. Hmm, let’s see, about savoring Him with our sense of smell. Well, early this morning I smelled smoke in the air and thought, “Oh no, the summer wildfires are starting already!” But then the air cleared, and I felt so thankful! I only wish somehow I’d been able to see the Lord’s goodness a little better in that moment when smoke was dismaying me. Still have a ways to go, obviously. :)

  • Judy Fossgreen

    When my girls were little and they didn’t like how something smelled or looked or felt in their mouth, we had a little policy—-eat 3 bites, and if you still don’t like it, you don’t have to eat it. They had to sample what didn’t look good, or what didn’t smell good, or what didn’t feel good in their mouths. Surprisingly, they began to like some of the new items served to them. The first time I smelled pizza at a restaurant, I thought it would gag me. Now it is a staple in our house. So when the Lord wants us to taste His Word, we need to chew on at least 3 bites before we say, “Yuck!” God can season anything and make it delicious. We now trust Him for our nourishment.

    Yum! Bring it on!

    • Jeanelle Reider Post author

      A mother after my own heart :) At least 3 bites is a good motto–and then sometimes the Lord tells me, “Here are three MORE…” :) He gave me three more bites of waiting this morning, and I’m exhausted, but I will eat this nourishing food from His good hand!

      • Judy Fossgreen

        It takes courage to wait—-more than going into battle. Psalm 27:14, “Wait for the Lord, be strong, and let your heart take courage. Yes, wait for the Lord.” I have learned when He feeds me with waiting, I need courage. So I tell my heart to take courage and wait with joy. “Give me a song as I wait, Lord. That will help me to have courage and help the time go by with joy.”

        Love you!

  • Judy Fossgreen

    This reminds me of “In all things give thanks,” in I Thessalonians 5:18. And why do we do this incredible act, because of Romans 8:28, where God causes all things to work together for the good to those who love God, who are called according to His purpose. It is truly a miracle how the Lord Himself can take rough circumstances in our lives and work them out for good, but that is why we give thanks in all things, tasting and seeing the Lord is good. It is all a work of faith in Him. Enjoy the meal.

    Love you,

    Judy

    • Jeanelle Reider Post author

      Judy, 1 Thess 5:18 is the perfect vest to apply to this, and how true that when we connect it to the truth of Rom 8:28 it makes perfect sense. A work of faith for sure, but founded on the most solid of Rocks.

  • Cleo A. Lampos

    You have such a wonderful way of taking a verse of Scripture and finding a new way to look at it. This blog spoke so directly to me on several levels. The words were powerful and descriptive at the same time. Food will never be the same.
    I will taste.

    • Jeanelle Reider Post author

      Cleo my friend, you’ve blessed me greatly by this text! I prayed intently before I sat down to write this yesterday that the Lord would truly impact the hearts of those who read it, and I myself as I wrote it. How glad I am that He’s done this for you, and that you’re being encouraged in your tasting of His incredible goodness. That encourages ME to keep tasting. Thank you, and much joy to you in this day!