The proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the EATING!
It is the experience of EATING something, actually partaking of it, that allows one to judge it's flavor quality. In my travels around the world I've eaten some things I never thought I would. Fried mopani worms or pork cooked in peanut butter, for example. And Sudanese bush rat. YUM!!!! I've also eaten things I'll not miss if i never taste them again. (I won't list those. You're probably ALREADY grossed out enough.)
Today's verse tells us to TASTE AND SEE THAT THE LORD IS GOOD.
Well, after writing yesterday's devotional on the power of trusting God in the midst of suffering I found myself having one of the hardest days of recent time. (Trust me, THAT'S saying something!!!) In the process of trying to deal with a particular software problem, I accidentally DELETED over 9 gigabytes of data from my computer. For those of you that are not techno-geeks, that is A LOT !!!!! For several hours I was searching for backups of folders that had files related to my father's estate, critical communications with principals from business deals, and the like.
I had preached on "Why Bad Things Happen To Good People" on Sunday, written about "Joy Restored" on Tuesday -- and now it was my turn to practice what I had preached. It was time to TASTE AND SEE THAT THE LORD IS GOOD.
So I began dealing with yesterday's personal crisis by DELIBERATELY reminding myself of three things:
GOD IS ALL POWERFUL
GOD KNOWS ALL THINGS
GOD IS GOOD
GOD IS ALL POWERFUL
If need be, He can do the miraculous -- and even fix computers or find lost data.
You may be laughing at the last sentence. But I've run computer companies that provided repair service, and had problems that I had to solve but were beyond my technical expertise. When I got to the end of my skills, I have prayed and asked God to step in and fix the computer issue -- and HE HAS. That which had not been working suddenly and inexplicable (from the natural point of view) now worked.
You may wonder why we didn't stop hiring technicians and begin hiring intercessors. But God doesn't work that way. He's too good and loving a father to do for us what we can do for ourselves; His goal is to develop us to our potential. But He's always there when we're over our heads in impossible situations. What love!
GOD IS ALL KNOWING
He knew what would happen before my finger hit the delete key. He could have sent Gabriel to my office to shout, "WAIT, o thou beloved of the Most High God," or something that would have prevented my accident. (It would probably have been, "STOP, thou fool!!" -- but that's another devotional.)
The point is that although I was SHOCKED and DEVASTATED when I realized what I had done. God wasn't.
So, since He is ALL KNOWING, He knew what was coming when I didn't. Since He is ALL POWERFUL He could have stopped me.
He didn't, obviously. So that brings me to the THIRD critical element I reminded myself of.
GOD IS GOOD
God IS good. Period. Full stop. He is.
And because He is good, what He does is good. Always. (And, by the way, when He chooses NOT to do something, that also flows out of His goodness.)
Our problem in reconciling those statements when we are faced with pain and evil is a real one. But it is a problem of our perspective, not His power. We don't see the entire picture. We don't have all of the data. And knowing the whole picture changes everything.
Steven Covey tells the story of being on a commuter rail train traveling from a city into the suburbs. Among the passengers in his car was a father with three young children. They were being rambunctious and their behavior was really bothering the other passengers in the car. The father was sitting there uninvolved, and was just looking out the window of the train. Finally, frustrated,one of the passengers mentioned something to the father about dealing with his children. The father responded and said, "I'm sorry, of course you're right. But we've just come from the hospital. My wife passed away this morning. I guess I'm just not sure how to deal with ANYTHING right now." Throughout the train car frustration melted into compassion. Some passengers began to care for the children while others spoke with the widower. Knowing ALL of the facts totally changed their understanding.
Dealing with God is like that. GOD IS GOOD. So when I do not understand why He does or does not do a particular thing, the problem is precisely that -- I DO NOT UNDERSTAND. The issue is ME, not God. The scriptures make it plain.
Well, I've located an online backup of my data; and the restoration is underway.
But more to the point - I was able to walk through it from a basis of trusting WHATEVER the outcome would be. Throughout the day I hit some pretty low lows and had some deep frustration; we are still humans with emotions after all. BUT emotions do not override faith and trust.
TASTE AND SEE THAT THE LORD IS GOOD