“God didn’t have to give us taste buds,” he said.
It wasn’t the main point of his sermon. In fact it was just an intro. An intro to the intro. A warm-up before the big game. Dr. Thoennes, a favorite of our Hume speakers, stood in between the front rows of pews, conversing with his audience as if we were chatting over a cup of coffee. It was unlike his usual stance of wide-open arms, a booming basketball-coach-voice, passionately preaching Christ and the gospel. But this – a brief side note – had captured me. He began talking about the ways that we can worship the Lord in everything we do – even drinking a milkshake. Thanking Him for making cows that produce milk that can be turned into a delicious treat, which reminds us to savor the sweetness of Jesus. And then, as if the words popped into his mind like a cherry on a malt, he said it: “Did you ever think about the fact that God didn’t have to give us taste buds?” The comment was fleeting, but it struck me – and stuck with me.
God didn’t have to give us taste buds. We could live perfectly well if we weren’t able to taste food. We would still be nourished. In fact, we might be more prone to eat food that was better for us – more practical for living well. But God did give us taste buds. And I have this funny feeling that He did it to show us a little bit more about Himself.
Just like physical taste, God didn’t have to make it so that we feel affection towards Him. He still would have been perfectly just if He made us to be His minions; He, commanding us to do things, and we, obeying His orders because that’s the practical thing to do. But God made us to “Taste and see that the Lord is good!” He has granted us feelings for Him.
I hear that with age, one can begin to lose the sense of taste (along with other senses too, I suppose). There are moments in life (even recently) where I feel like I’ve lost my taste buds for Jesus. I read my Bible, I pray, and (as far as I know) I’m not living in out-right rebellion to the Lord. But I don’t feel excited about Him. In the normalcy of life, everything feels, well, normal. It’s not like I’m angry with God, or upset about my circumstances, I just don’t feel. My affections have vanished.
But just as I grow older and may one day lose the power of those mighty little taste buds, I still must eat. I may not experience the enjoyment of tasting my food, but I need it, desperately. The food itself hasn’t lost any of its savory seasonings, it’s just that my taste buds are out-of-order. It’s the same spiritually. Even though I may not feel affection or excitement over what I’m reading in my Bible, I still need it, desperately. Here’s where the physical analogy and spiritual truth begin to part ways. Once I lose my physical taste, there is nothing I can do to get it back. I can eat and eat and eat, but it won’t restore my palate. But I can gorge myself on God’s Word, savoring each bite; preaching truth to myself, and praying for the Holy Spirit to revive me. We have this assured hope that regardless of what we feel, that God. Is. Good. Whether we’re swimming in an ocean of blessings, or trudging through the bitterest of moments, we will be drenched with the sweetness of Jesus as we trust in His truth. Restoring the joy of our salvation, rehabilitating the excitement we once felt that “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son.” Reflecting on the simplicity and grander that Jesus Christ is Lord. What a delight!
Taste and see that the Lord is good! Because He is good and His Spirit has made us to taste it.