A Taste for God
is born with a hunger and thirst. The body craves nourishment. The newborn
cries in the early hour for his feeding and the adult searches for another
snack. We live in a time of diets and fast food. There is a multitude
of books and lectures that make millions of dollars every year as counsel
is given concerning what to eat and what to avoid eating.
We develop our taste for certain kinds of food as infants. There were
foods we did not like, and we spit them out. It might be something we
needed according to the pediatrician, but we did not like the taste
of it. Our mothers engaged in a diet battle with us from the beginning.
There are certain foods we learn to like and others that we refuse to
even taste. When George H.W Bush was President he confessed his dislike
for broccoli. His brutal frankness won him a wagon load of brocolli
from a broccoli farmer.
It is hard to describe what taste is. It is hard to describe the taste
of a certain food. We might say that it tastes like something with which
the person we are endeavoring to tell is familiar. When we are unable
to really succeed in describing the taste, we finally say, "Just
taste it for yourself."
There are imitation flavors. They taste like the real thing without
being the real thing. Even with them there is a difference in taste.
Some taste more like the real thing than others. They are called substitutes.
Everyone is born with a taste for God. There is within the human spirit
a hunger and thirst for something beyond the temporal. Many things are
tasted in the quest to satisfy the deep hunger and thirst. Years are
spent, even far too many, tasting the things of the world. It is what
Pascal called "licking the earth.
We are born into the world with an elusive search for a relationship.
We have a taste for something but cannot quite identify what it is.
It is a taste from beyond the realm of time and yet we seek to satisfy
the taste with experiences which are temporal. C. S. Lewis tells us
about the desire which cannot be fully satisfied in this realm which
means there must be something beyond. It is something for which we have
been created. In contrast to men of all times Moses is described as
one who chose "to suffer affliction with the people of God, than
to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season...
"(Heb.11:25). There is pleasure in sin but it is short lived. It
is like a season. It waxes and wanes with the fading of beauty and in
the brevity of time, like Lord Byron, "life is in the yellow leaf."
The taste is not as pleasurable as it once was. The cup of pleasure
is drained and there is nothing left of life. But among spiritual paupers
no one is willing to confess the emptiness of the soul which nothing
of this world has satisfied.
The woman at the well could not assuage her thirst for a relationship.
She had tried marriage five times and in frustration decided to forget
the ceremony and just live with a man. Jesus told her of the water he
offered her was different from the water of the well at Sychar: "Whosoever
drinketh of this water shall thirst again. But whosoever drinketh of
the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that
I shall give him shall be to him a well of water springing up into everlasting
life" (Jn.4:13, 14)
The psalmist invites, "O taste and see how good the Lord is; blessed
is the man that trusteth in him" (Ps. 34:8). Perhaps the writer
was referring to a delicious meal which he saw as the manifestation
of the grace of God. It might have been a commemoration of the Passover
when Israel to this day is reminded of the freedom which the Lord gave
them 3000 years ago, and they have had to fight for generations to preserve
that freedom. Whatever it was the invitation was to taste it for it
represented God and his goodness.
There are those who often say in the presence of tragedy or taking note
of the suffering in the world, "If God is a good God, then why
all the suffering?" Such people have never tasted the Lord. They
stand back and are critical of the One whom they have never met. They
are like people who have never tasted a certain dish and declare, "I
just think I will not like it." Some might even say, "My mother
never fixed it for us to eat."
God cannot be known until he is tasted. His goodness is impossible to
describe. He must be trusted. "For the Lord is good; his mercy
is everlasting; and his truth endures to all generations"(Ps. 100:5).
Once the Lord's goodness is tasted then the desire which has-been caught
in the pursuit of the temporal is set free to want more of him who satisfies
forever. The desire for the eternal displaces the pursuit for the temporal.
Lives continue to be changed by the taste of God's goodness. "Or
despiseth thou the riches of his goodness and forebearance and long-suffering;
not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance"(Ro.
"Blessed are they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness
for they shall be filled" (Mt.5:10).