Several weeks ago my husband and I got to go out on a date by ourselves. I had been starving prior to us having dinner and we decided to go to a local steak place. Normally, my frugal side kicks in and I get cheap right before I order my meal. I usually end up going for the chicken or pasta because the price tag on the steaks is a little more than I can bear, but this day we had a little extra money and I was feeling a little froggy. I went for my favorite, the blackened ribeye - medium (as a side note, I’ve had to fight with the spell check on my computer for 5 minutes to get it to stop changing “ribeye” into “redeye”). Anyway, once my steak came, it was cooked perfectly. It was juicy, it had lots of flavor, it was tender…I enjoyed every last bite of it. Even now, just thinking about that steak is making my mouth water.
What is frustrating for me is that there are some things, no matter how hard I may try, that I can’t convey to you accurately enough or strongly enough to make you REALLY feel what I felt. You could say to me, “yeah, that IS a really bright sky.” You could even appreciate the experience that I had and share in it slightly, but chances are that the picture taken from my cell phone and posted on the internet isn’t going to cause you to have a moment of awe at God’s creation. You can agree with me that steak is good, but chances are, you can’t fully appreciate the level of satisfaction that I gained from that particular steak.
The same is true with so much. I’ve been told all my life by people who have lost weight that it just takes buckling down, eating right, and exercising. They say that once you do it and the weight starts coming off, life improved by leaps and bounds and you really start to feel better about yourself. I believe every single person who ever told me that, but that is not the same as experiencing it for myself. Weigh in was today and I am down another 2 lbs (which makes me one step closer to that experience) but I’m not there yet. I’m sure people who have already done it get frustrated with people who haven’t and just want to yell, “DON’T STOP! KEEP GOING! IT WILL ALL BE WORTH IT!” But despite their vehemence, sometimes us listeners just can’t grasp that reality.
I see people around me struggling with job stress, money problems, addictions, bad marriages, bad kids, health problems, feeling unappreciated, loneliness, and a myriad of other problems. And for the people who are trying to get through these things without an all-knowing, all-powerful God behind them, I just want to yell, “DON’T TRY TO DO IT ALONE! IT’S SO MUCH EASIER IF YOU TRUST GOD WITH YOUR HEART AND LIFE!” I can talk til I’m blue in the face about the peace that I’ve found in knowing that as long as I am trying to do God’s will, everything else will work out one way or the other. But unless you’ve let go and felt that for yourself, there isn’t an accurate way for me to get you share in that experience with me.
Even King David understood that. In Psalm 34, he spends the first 7 verses talking about the goodness of the Lord. He says, “I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt his name together. I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him.”
But even he understood that his words weren’t enough. The next verse says it all. He says in Psalm 34:8, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” He knew that even though he just gave several reasons and examples why God is good, you would have to taste it for yourself in order to fully experience it.
So today I would just ask you to take a bite. You don’t have to feel the full experience that I and others have had, but at least trust the people who have been through it (whatever your “it” is) enough to give it a shot. Even Paul, in the book of Romans says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by TESTING you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Like LeVar Burton would always say on Reading Rainbow, “Don’t take my word for it!”
(Oh, and another side note - that sweet truck in the picture is for sale. It’s my sister’s and yes, it is as cool as it looks).