When we moved to France when I was seven, my mom discovered that peanut butter was an American product. She searched high and low in every grocery store, determined to find that quick and easy lunch spread. One day, she came home with a tin can: she had finally found peanut butter in a specialty grocery store, imported from north Africa! She opened it with a can opener and although the stuff inside was hard to spread, it tasted fine.
The French preferred their Nutella, a snack my mom only gave us as a dessert. Our French friends would scrunch their noses in disgust when my mom talked about peanut butter. “You mean a butter? Made from peanuts? Ew!”
One Sunday at a church potluck, my mom made a chocolate cake. For the frosting, she whipped together equal parts Nutella and peanut butter. Our French friends loved it and raved about the frosting. My mom waited until everyone had finished their slice before revealing that there was peanut butter in the recipe!
In high school, I met Liz. She had grown up in Jakarta as a missionary kid, and she was in love with peanut butter. I had never met a bigger fan. She put it on rice, on noodles, on chicken even! Liz was the one who told me to try peanut butter with apple slices. I was skeptical, having only heard of peanut butter on bananas or celery stalks. She cut up a green apple and topped it with a dollop of peanut butter in a bowl for me. An unlikely combination I thought. But, not wanting to offend, I took a bite and my world was opened wide. The cool, crisp tartness of the apple alongside the smooth, savory peanut butter was a revelation. I became an instant fan. That was the year I also discovered pretzels and peanut butter, so you could say that it was a time of tremendous personal growth.
A tasty invitation
God invites us to taste his goodness for ourselves.
“Oh taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.” (Psalm 34:8)
Like a heavenly parent, poised with a spoonful of something new, he waits for us to taste and see that God is good. Our life circumstances, however pleasant or unpleasant they may taste right now, can’t compare to the unchanging goodness of God. God never promised an easy life for his followers, free of pain and suffering and full of prosperity. But he did promise us himself, and he is good.
When we keep an open mind to new culinary experiences, we position ourselves to be blown away, impressed, delighted. When we come to God with the same attitude, the same thing can happen. Consider the words of the Psalmist:
“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103)
How do you approach the word of God? Are you bored with it? Is it too difficult to read? An obligation to fulfill?
What if we came to the word of God with expectation? Hungry for God’s truth and presence? Searching its pages for the words that will hit the spot?
Might we come away feeling satisfied and fulfilled? Might we carry around his word throughout our day, chewing on its truth, its meaning?
I confess that I often read my Bible out of a sense of duty rather than a longing to be filled. I want to approach it like the Psalmist: eager, hungry, expectant. I’m challenging us all to pause before we open God’s word. To start off by humbling ourselves, by acknowledging our need for mercy and for truth. In doing so, we will put ourselves in the right posture to delight in the taste of God’s words.
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