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
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
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:
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
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!”
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
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! + + +