This week in my Living on the Rock Bible study, we talked about God’s goodness.
O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! (Psalm 34:8)
WHAT DO YOU THINK IT MEANS TO “Taste and See that the Lord is Good”?
We had a great discussion of this question. My favorite response was a friend who shared that it made her think of holding a new born baby. Not that God is a baby – but that when you hold a newborn, you don’t hold her at arms’ distance. You draw her close, feel her fingers and toes, drink in that precious baby scent.
What a beautiful picture of what God is inviting us to do: To draw Him close, to take Him in, to use all of our senses to enjoy and learn Him.
The Hebrew word translated “taste” means to savor or enjoy. Which makes me ask: Am I enjoying God? How do I enjoy and experience His goodness? Is He like a tasty meal to me?
I love many of the verbs around God’s goodness in Psalm 34. Taste and see, but also:
“Magnify the Lord with me, let us exalt His name together.”
Magnify means to make big, and exalt is to lift high. But there’s also a beautiful picture in both of those words – because the literal meaning of the word translated magnify is “GROW UP.” And the word for exalt is also used for raising up children.
When we bless the Lord, praise Him, look for His goodness – we can literally GROW UP in Him.
We resist hard things. But it is difficult (if not impossible) to grow up, to TASTE His goodness, without hard things.
When we trust God in the midst of our hard circumstances, when we consider His name bigger than our fears or worries or hardships, when we let Him be higher than anything else – we EXPERIENCE His goodness. We grow up in Him and He becomes a feast to us.
To practice that, we did a Thanksgiving activity together. I’d love to invite you to do it now.
First: Set a timer for 10 minutes.
Pull out a blank sheet of paper, or turn to a new page in your journal. Start the timer, and write out as many things that you’re thankful for as you can, in 10 minutes.
I think there’s a lot of power in listing out things in your life that you’re thankful for – receiving those as gifts from the Lord. BUT that’s not what I want you to do for this.
I want you to write things about God that you’re thankful for – specifically ways He’s worked in your life, how you’re learning to know Him, aspects of intimacy with Him. You don’t have to edit, and you don’t have to make it pretty. Just write it out, there’s power in putting these things down on paper.
Second: Now turn your paper over, or move to a new page in your journal.
Write out something that is hard (or even impossible) for you to thank God for. This is just for you, so you can be totally honest, and you can write more than one thing if you’d like.
Third: I want you to THINK: Can you come up with 3 ways God might be doing something (even something very small) good through this hard thing? It doesn’t have to make your hard thing “worth it”, just look for any glimmer of goodness.
Write down your 3 (or more!) ways God might bring goodness.
Now take some time to write a prayer of thanksgiving – your sacrifice of praise – thanking God for your hard thing. You don’t have to call hard things good. But express your trust in God that His goodness is hidden in there somewhere for you, that His goodness is big enough to contain your hard things.
Even if you don’t feel thankful – write out your thanks.
Thanking God for hard things, looking for His goodness in things I would never choose, is a spiritual practice I have found very helpful, if not downright necessary, over the years.
I am in a season of blessing right now – not that there aren’t hard things, but I don’t feel like I’m suffering. During my extended season of singleness, I did feel at times like I was suffering. I tried to fully embrace that season and all its gifts (which were many), but I never was able to get out from under the desire to be married, (and especially) to be a mother. And it was hard to fight the lies that came along with that season – that I wasn’t fully a woman as a single woman, that I was single because something was wrong with my appearance or personality (we have GOT to stop saying stupid things like this to single people. And generally treating them like second class citizens. But that’s another post.)
During those years, I learned to make a semi-regular practice of thanking God for my singleness using the steps above. I had to teach myself to find God in what was hardest for me. My greatest joy as I think back to that season is that I allowed God to meet me there, and didn’t waste those years feeling sorry for myself. This thankfulness practice was surely instrumental with that.
Giving thanks helps us to enjoy God. Giving thanks, even in hard things, is a way to hold God close like a new born baby. Giving thanks helps us to “taste and see that the Lord is good.”