Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
August 31, 2014
Taste and see
They buried their precious daughter last week. She was only eleven years old. You might suppose they were still in tears, struggling under the weight of their sorrow.
But not Darlene and Arthur. Instead Darlene was posting on Facebook a powerful witness about the goodness of God. I loved the way she used a piece of bread to get our attention.
A friend invited Darlene to taste a piece of cranberry-walnut bread. She liked it so much she bought a loaf. Then she invited another friend to taste the delicious bread. The friend liked it too.
Darlene says that is how we should share the Lord with other people. Tell people about God’s goodness and invite them to try Him for themselves. This, she says, is what David recommends in Psalm 34:8 – “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”
Then Darlene drives home her big idea – that God is good even when death robs you of a beloved child. You might think the two-year trial of Cora’s struggle with a brain tumor would have driven these parents away from God. But Darlene says, “This trial has not turned us from God but has drawn us closer to Him.” She insists that they are more keenly aware of God’s love now than ever before.
What a testimony from grieving parents! That same Psalm 34 has another great verse in it, a verse that explains the strong faith held by Darlene and Arthur. These are the words of verse 18: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Yes, that describes our God!
The Bible convinces me that God hears the cries of his children. Go back to the days of Jeremiah, for example, and you find such a God. Jerusalem had been destroyed. Most of the people were exiles and slaves in a foreign land. But some were allowed to remain in Jerusalem where Jeremiah helped them understand God’s love for the brokenhearted.
Overwhelmed by sorrow, uprooted from their homeland, the Israelites had little hope for the future. They had disobeyed God. Now they were enduring God’s punishment for their sins.
But in the midst of their affliction, God came. Despite their stubbornness, God did not abandon them. God never stopped loving them. In fact, just when they needed it the most, God gave them the precious gift of hope, a gift “made flesh” in a man, the prophet Jeremiah.
Jeremiah saw beyond the present suffering; he saw a future full of the goodness of God. The prophet saw that hope is greater than grief, that joy is greater than sorrow. Few greater visions of God are found in Holy Scripture than this one by the weeping prophet:
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
This vision birthed the beloved hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” The song often brings me to my knees in worship, especially the words, “All I have needed, Thy Hand hath provided.” I want to cry out “Yes, Lord, Yes!”
What a great truth for us to embrace and live by: God’s mercies are new every morning! No matter what pain we endured in the night, God’s mercies are as sure as the morning light and ours for the asking.
Morning suggests breakfast. When we rise from a night’s rest we feel fresh; we have fresh energy. The aroma of fresh coffee makes us glad to be alive.
Fresh bread smells good and tastes delicious. Think of our disappointment if all we had for breakfast was day-old coffee and stale bread! No so God’s mercies; they are fresh every morning!
But not only do we have bread – like Darlene’s delicious cranberry-walnut bread. We have the Bread of Heaven whose name is Jesus! And like Darlene we can invite those who are brokenhearted to “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”
Our thanks to Darlene and Arthur for reminding us, in the midst of their own sorrow, that God is good. He is faithful. He keeps his promise to comfort the brokenhearted. Our troubles may weigh us down but we need not stay down. We can turn to the God whose eye is on the sparrow and know that he cares about our sorrows. He hurts when we hurt. And every new morning can be a new beginning because His compassion never fails! Yes! + + +