As I think about how I am to begin practicing the goodlife I figure it might be helpful to pick a focus.
I choose to consider taste. In hind sight, I’m not sure why I pick taste other than perhaps it is something to do with the way my Little Love has been putting things into her mouth with such relish lately.
In the living room, she spots a piece of lint on the floor that fell from the laundry basket or was tracked in on a foot and grins big before quickly shoving it into her mouth. She does all this lightning quick, before I have time to pluck it from her little hand. That edge of the carpet that has been pulling away from the kitchen threshold? Yeah…she’s swallowed that up a time or two when I was looking the other way. I can tell by the way she coughs as I catch her looking guilty with another piece in hand.
At the table, she grabs strawberries and bites big with the pink juice dripping gloriously down her chin, accompanied with a squeeze of each berry that leaves them in mangled bits that cover her hands and booster tray. She smears it around with an artist’s flourish and concentration that is quite endearing, if sticky. She takes bites of mama’s food and sometimes dada’s to—the vegetables, the curry, the beans and rice. She tries it all, and loves most of it.
Outside, as I pull weeds she sits nearby on the sidewalk grabbing blades of grass. Knowing that she often tries to put these in her mouth, I tell her she can pluck them, but not eat them. She listens, but takes it as an invitation to scrape up a bit of dirt to sample instead.
In the swimming pool, she is ready to try the leaf that is crumpled at the bottom of the shallow pool. I distract her with something else for a few moments only to find that while I have been surveying the cloudy sky she has grabbed the hose end and placed it in her mouth instead.
In the bathtub, she nimbly folds her head forward into the water and drinks deep of the soapy water. She must know that Natalie Babbit wrote that it was delicious.
I can’t help but laugh. This girl has tasted and seen the Lord is good.
In many small moments, I have for a few seconds caught a glimpse of God’s goodness, but I feel like I’m so busy managing all the messy bits that I don’t often just delight in them. How to move beyond this?
Jason reads one night: “You’ve had a taste of God. Now like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God.” 1 Peter 2:2-3
Drink of God’s kindness. Taste it.
I think of what this picture has looked like in my own arms this last year—my baby drinking deeply. This is the way God wants me to experience him? He wants me to drink eagerly, letting his kindness pour in as much and more than I can take in. Somehow this will grow me up mature and whole in Him.
It’s a beautiful image. Babies are made to drink deep, but they do learn in those early weeks how to do it. So how do I learn to drink deep of God’s kindness?
How do I move away from managing moments to delighting in them?
I think of the Revolution in World Missions book I have been reading this week. K.P. Yohannan writes of native missionaries and their children going hungry overseas and here I am wondering how to taste the Lord’s kindness. Something in me is unlocked in reading this.
I think He must be teaching me how to drink.
I recognize that God has been watching me struggle. He knows what I have not seen until now. I have been living the good life all along without really recognizing it or giving thanks. He opens my eyes to see all this grace right before me. His kindness has been there all along.
Left-over lentil sloppy joes in the refrigerator.
Fresh clean water to drink straight from the tap.
The pineapple and melon on my counter top.
The jars of legumes, grains, and nuts hanging on my wall.
The English muffin with egg and cheese I share with my little love at breakfast.
And this is just the start of what is sure to be a long list.
I repent as I consider these brothers and sisters. I wonder how do they drink deep of the Lord’s kindness?
How myopic I have been.
If I am honest, I often too easily tire of my own good food. I like the luxury of eating out. I ponder whether I make a bad choice when I buy conventional foods. I think of that potato I threw out earlier this week, somewhere around the world someone would have salvaged it to make dinner.
In so many ways, I have failed to interpret all this abundance in terms of God’s goodness.
It is dangerous to forget the abundance of God.
“Make sure that when you eat and are satisfied, build pleasant houses and settle in, see your herds and flocks flourish and more and more money come in, watch your standard of living going up and up—make sure you don’t become so full of yourself and your things that you forget God, your God, the God who delivered you from Egyptian slavery;
the God who led you through that huge and fearsome wilderness, those desolate, arid badlands crawling with fiery snakes and scorpions; the God who gave you water gushing from hard rock; the God who gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never heard of, in order to give you a taste of the hard life, to test you so that you would be prepared to live well in the days ahead of you.If you start thinking to yourselves, “I did all this. And all by myself. I’m rich. It’s all mine!”—well, think again. Remember that God, your God, gave you the strength to produce all this wealth so as to confirm the covenant that he promised to your ancestors—as it is today.If you forget, forget God, your God, and start taking up with other gods, serving and worshiping them, I’m on record right now as giving you firm warning: that will be the end of you; I mean it—destruction. You’ll go to your doom—the same as the nations God is destroying before you; doom because you wouldn’t obey the Voice of God, your God.” Deuteronomy 8:11-20
With eyes opened I can see how good God is. I can see that I have a lot to learn about being disciplined and allowing the Holy Spirit to bear the fruit of self-control. I know my heart will be better for being open to it.
As I have been thinking about those native missionaries, it comes to me. They go hungry holding out food that is greater than the stores of my pantry and the contents of my refrigerator—the Bread of Life that transforms a life.
“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying,“Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Matthew 26:26-29
They know what it is to really drink of the pure kindness of God.
Through them, I am learning too.
Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we drink deep of God’s pure kindness. May we be overwhelmed by the changes it works in us. May we find Him gently drawing us into disciplines in our lives in order to allow us to bless our brothers and sisters around the world out of His more than sufficient abundance.