A BLESSED LIFE: Experiencing God
“Oh taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” – Psalm 34:8
The goodness of God is impossible to see for sinners. The very origins and definition of our sinfulness do not allow us to see it. The creation account portrays a good who is the source of all things declaring his own work as measuring up to his definition and standard of goodness. If anything was good, it was good because God made it and called it so by his measure of goodness. But then the human race became sinful by rejecting God as both the final authority on what is good and the final standard of what goodness is. We made ourselves gods, going our own way to determine on our own what is good and coming up with our own standards of what goodness looks like. You see this self-deification everywhere if you dare to look, starting with your own heart.
For example, we struggle to see how our suffering can possibly be compatible with the goodness of God, much less being an expression of it. Part of our struggle is that whatever definitions and standards of goodness we are measuring God’s goodness by are not the same as the definitions and standards of goodness by which God measures himself. We are blind to goodness, and our minds are constantly needing tactical tricks just to see it. We often don’t see something as good right away, we rarely see anything as good on our own without external helps, whether that is the wisdom from others, or the passage of time, or the painful consequences of mistaking something as good when it was anything but. By extension, we are blind to God’s goodness, failing to see how something can be an expression of God’s goodness, or how God can still be said to be good or working for our good in the midst of things he himself says are not.
But we are also creatures of self-contradiction. Even though God’s goodness is hard for us to see, we demand that God should show it to us before we can taste it. We reduce God to some recipe, refusing to taste the meal unless we are told exactly what ingredients are in the food and how it was prepared. So devoted to this way of living are we that we will gladly starve to death unless we have our way. We judge everything by appearances, and the first to suffer this shallow judgment from us is God. We refuse to see him as our ultimate and greatest good unless we can see him, when our greatest ailment is that we have lost all ability to see. So we continue to be frustrated when God does not show himself to us on our terms, for while more sunlight is good for many things, curing blindness is not one of them.
So while God invites us to see that he is good, it is not his first invitation. The first invitation is for us to come and taste. We must taste a meal we can’t see and whose ingredients we are blind to. We must taste that goodness on basis of nothing but our trust in the credibility of the testimony of those who have tasted it before and have been nourishing themselves on it ever since. We must throw ourselves on God in a make-it or break-it fashion, simply because we believe. Those who begin by hearing, then trusting, then tasting, are guaranteed to see that the Lord is good and a blessing. Those who wait to see before they can trust and taste walk away with nothing.