Wednesday, December 15th
I sought the Lord, and he answered me,
and delivered me from all my fears.
Look to him, and be radiant;
so your faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord,
and was saved from every trouble.
The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
O taste and see that the Lord is good;
happy are those who take refuge in him.
O fear the Lord, you his holy ones,
for those who fear him have no want.
The young lions suffer want and hunger,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
Psalm 34:4-10 (NRSV)
Your words were found, and I ate them,
and your words became to me a joy
and the delight of my heart;
for I am called by your name,
O Lord, God of hosts.
Jeremiah 15:16 (NRSV)
The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
What are some of the tastes that bring you joy? The tastes that come to my mind are a mug of hot hazelnut coffee early in the morning; a pint of fresh strawberries from a roadside stand in early summer; a handful of salty cashews and a glass of sparkling water as my afternoon snack; our favorite taco soup recipe on a cool autumn day; and my once-a-year sweet treat: frosted cut-out cookies at Christmastime! These delicious tastes, along with the special moments, bring me such inner contentment and joy.
I lost my sense of taste in the later months of my chemotherapy. The lack of taste didn’t affect me as much as the sudden awareness and prominence of the textures of foods! When the taste is lacking, the texture really overwhelms, and I could barely swallow some foods that felt rubbery or lumpy. I needed to keep up my strength and health, so I ate solely to nourish my body, finding no pleasure in doing so.
Life without the taste of joy can feel like that. We may go on surviving, tending, or maintaining, but we receive no enjoyment or pleasure. The tastes of life – sweet relationships, refreshing experiences, satisfying purposes – are diminished, while the textures of life – mundane tasks, tedious chores, burdensome responsibilities – become difficult to swallow. We may go through the motions of the day, unable to find the meaning or the mission in them, unable to find the purposes and promises that bring us joy in doing them.
Today we are invited to “taste and see” the goodness of the Lord. Jesus comes to give us life that is rich, full, and satisfying. He comes, not just to sustain but to season our lives. He comes, not just to help us survive, but to help us savor our days. And we can taste the goodness of God in Christ through absorbing his wonderful presence in the word, in the bread and wine, in the sharing of community, and most of all, in his Spirit that dwells within us. The inner joy of Christ can bring taste to the textures of our days.*
Taste. How might God in Christ flavor your day today?
Prayer: Loving God, in Christ you long to give us abundant life; a life that is meant to be savored and relished. Help me to turn to you when my soul is lacking, that you may supply your joy – and restore mine. Thank you for all the ways you have brought zest, flavor, and richness to my life. Today, as I eat and drink, let me be mindful of your sweet joy. Let me also be mindful of those who may not be experiencing your joy today and show me how to help. Amen.
*As i write this, I am mindful of the realities of deep discouragement or depression, of terrible hardship or grief, of physical or mental illness. There are times when “the joy of the Lord” will be difficult to find or feel; times when we will benefit from medicines, therapies, counseling, and other sources of help. Jesus has known anxiety, grief, and weariness, too. You may find comfort in reading about Jesus at this beautiful site, https://hegetsus.com/.