My mother-in-law is a superhero. In our multi-generational household, not only does she put up with a whole lot of chaos, she also takes on the majority of the dinner-cooking responsibilities. We eat well and are incredibly grateful that she uses her gifts to care for us in this way, but feeding this pack of picky eaters is no easy task!
We’ve got three who will not touch anything ‘spicy’, three for whom a single seed or ‘chunk’ is a deal-breaker, one who turns her nose up at anything contaminated by the slightest bit of onion or mushroom, two who boycott the majority of vegetables, and one who is regularly warned that she can’t have any more vegetables until she eats ONE bite of something else. Cooking for us is exhausting!
In an attempt to remedy this problem, we have a “try one bite” rule. You don’t have to eat a whole serving and one bite, no matter how unpleasant, can easily be washed down with some water or milk. Who knows? You may find out it’s not as bad as you think!
It boggles my mind that after 20 years of following Jesus, I still wake up every morning believing my plans are all going to succeed! I assume nothing will go awry or bring me the slightest ounce of discomfort. I expect that I will go to sleep that night, looking back at my day with a good taste in my mouth.
And though this has happened approximately never, I still seem to think, “Today is the day!”
But instead of everything going my way, interruptions, complications, and irritations abound – leaving me feeling like I’ve been forced to plug my nose and wash down several forkfuls of mushrooms! (blech 😜) People and circumstances seem to have a will of their own and I can’t understand why they won’t do what I envisioned they would do. Some of these yucky bites are just minor inconveniences I didn’t see coming, but sometimes they’re onions covered in mayonnaise (double blech!) and really hard to swallow!
Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Every time our plans fall flat or our expectations go unmet, it’s on purpose – the Lord’s purpose. His plan to allow our plans to fail is for our good because we need daily doses of discomfort to remind us that we are not God!
It’s so easy to get lost in the blame game – whether it’s stuffing my face with self-pity and regret over my own mistakes or simmering in a pot of anger over others’. It’s easy to point the finger at ‘the enemy’ and call it an ‘attack’. But there’s a really good chance something – or Someone – much bigger is at work.
“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,
for those who fear him have no lack!
The young lions suffer want and hunger;
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.”
Everything about God is good and so is everything He does. When things don’t go my way and I see an immediate “better” result, I’m quick to say, “God is good!”. Like the other day when my 9-year-old and I went to Wendy’s for lunch, but they were closed. She was upset, but we looked across the street and realized it was “Kids Eat Free” day at Moe’s! Woo-hoo! In those moments I’m so glad that His purpose prevailed over mine.
But it’s much harder to see that every taste we get of His work in our lives is good. When we’re seeking the Lord, He will be sure that we “lack no good thing”. Although we’d like every taste to be warm chocolate chip cookies, He gives us those less desirable bites to expand our palate so we can acquire a greater taste for His goodness.
If things always worked out the way I set out for them to, my confidence in myself would increase and my trust in my God would decrease. And since I’ve asked Him to help my faith grow, I can expect discomforts to be on my plate daily! They may be hard to swallow, but with every “taste” I am learning “see” Who is really in control.
No matter how they taste going down, all of His works are good. His purpose will always be greater than our pleasure and no matter what He’s serving today, we can say along with the Psalmist: “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” (Psalm 34:1)