Hoarding Good Things

“If the root of your problem is a sinful desire masquerading as an innocent (or even noble) deed, then feeding it will only make the problem worse. Even if you feed it with with something basically good—like a healthy relationship—it may amount to nothing more than manna hoarding, greedily gobbling up some otherwise good gift from God with no thought of God at all.”

Mike Wilkerson, Redemption

Taste and see

I had one of the best dinners of my life last night. No, I didn’t take a photo. It didn’t seem all that remarkable when I sat down to eat it. It’s a meal I’ve had before-A persimmon, goat cheese, crackers, and grapes. These were run-of-the-mill normal foods from Costco Ok, sure, these two fruits happen to be at their delectable autumn prime, but I’ve been enjoying them all week. This was the Sunday snack I was eating because I’d overstuffed myself at lunch with Qdoba. I sat down expecting a little bite to tide me over till morning and it blew me away. An amazing meal that didn’t even include wine!

I think  I might be able to credit French Women Don’t Get Fat for making a mundane meal amazing. Over the last month I’ve slowly been retraining my taste buds at Mireille Guiliano’s advice. She emphasizes things like chewing slowly, eating without distraction (No reading at dinner. Sigh.), learning to enjoy selecting and preparing food–these were all things I thought I did until I started paying closer attention to my actual habits.

I’m finding food treasures in my local Fred Meyer that I didn’t know were there because I didn’t spend time looking. (Who knew Freddy’s had a staff person whose job it is to taste and recommend cheeses??) I’m finding more pleasure in foods I’ve always eaten because I’m not constantly eating food that only dulls my sense of taste just to fill my stomach. I love food–fresh, local food, even. I love to cook. These are not new concepts to me. The mistake was in thinking knowing was enough for doing. Practice is opening a whole new world of food for me. Who knew that I needed to practice eating right?

I think the spiritual parallels are obvious (and possibly even part of this process. God made food and he made it delicious, after all). Blessings are all around. When I practice tasting God, it is not my environment that changes, but my capacity to enjoy the goodness that has always been there.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;

Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

Psalm 34:8

 

 

Voice in the Storm

I’m not going to lie, I’ve had a challenging few days. Saturday I said goodbye to a friend who is dying. Work is rough. Voting… Things could certainly be a lot worse, but I’m in bit of a funk over all of it. For the most part, my recent life has been so full of the amazing harmony and beauty that can come from a life lived close to God. Relational healing, order in my home I thought was impossible, remarkable synergy at work, I even look younger… These are all things that glorify God. But as Oswald Chambers likes to ask, what do I do if those are taken away? Where does that leave me? Where does that leave my understanding of God? If I lose the benefits of His presence, does my faith remain intact?

For instance, if my affinity to God usually makes my work go well, but somehow that stopped, what would that mean for my faith? Is God still God even if my work doesn’t glorify Him by reflecting His majesty and order? What if his greatest glory is for me to lose my job and glorify him by praising him in my distress?

Take anything, but do not take my God away! But… is it even possible to have His presence without the benefits? Don’t those things go hand in hand? What is the presence of God without its benefits? This is a thing I do not know or understand.

God’s voice comes in the storm:

Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain,

and a path for the thunderstorm,

to water a land where no one lives,

an uninhabited desert,

to satisfy a desolate wasteland

and make it sprout with grass?

Does the rain have a father?

Who fathers the drops of dew?

From whose womb comes the ice?

Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens

when the waters become hard as stone,

when the surface of the deep is frozen?

Job 38:25-30

God’s presence is inescapable. He exists even where there is no one to see Him. If God’s presence is life and breath to me, the last chapters of Job are only the most beautiful reassurance. “As long as creation exists, I am there.”

Have I had and known enough of Him for that to be my joy, even in the middle of a storm?