When my daughter was about two years old, there were certain things that she just plainly refused to eat. Those of you who are parents undoubtedly have gone through this frustrating phase with your own children. With my daughter, it was anything classified under the category of meat. Even such reliable childhood favorites as hot dogs were met with the concise but powerful statement, “don’t like!” Our insistences that meat was good for her and would help her to grow up big and strong fell on deaf ears. They did nothing to convince her that meat was something she had to eat in order to be healthy and energetic. She simply could not get past her initial experience with meat’s taste and texture and therefore she was unable to see its long-term benefits. Nevertheless, we persisted in ensuring that she try new meats, and eventually she became used to eating all kinds of meat, including hot dogs. She doesn’t remember those days anymore, and she has become a kid who will eat just about any kind of food that is put in front of her.
Now, this seems to be an inordinately long analysis of toddler eating habits, however there’s an important message to be learned here. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about those days as I reflect on some recent disappointments in my own life. Our family has been set back on our heels with some recent news that our future plans have been drastically changed. My first and most tenacious response to these changes is, “don’t like!” I’ve been handed a type of spiritual meat that I’m having troubles choking down, and I would prefer just to push the plate away. But by doing so, I am blinding myself to what benefits God has planned for us through this experience. In a way, I long to be the church at Corinth which Paul writes to in the third chapter of 1st Corinthians. I would prefer being bottle-fed milk rather than to face the difficulties I am facing now. However, God was not content to let the Corinthians be milk-fed and indeed Paul spent much energy admonishing and correcting the Corinthians for the purpose of increasing their strength. If I am going to trust the word of God, when he says in Romans 8:28 that, “All things work together for good to those who love God,” then I must trust that the meat he is feeding me right now is good for me. Like a good father, God wants me to grow big and strong, spiritually.
As I have learned through my daughter, this time of, “don’t like!” will pass, and I’m not likely to remember just how upsetting things are right now. Because of God’s guidance in my life, I will go on to enjoy the spiritual meat that he will continue to feed me. I will relish in its flavor at the moment, and then enjoy the strength it will impart later.