Experiencing a Taste Better Than 10,000 Kinds of Food

Yesterday in Miami Dr. Marx examined the scan of my jaw now two weeks post Operation Robojaw Two. “Everything looks great,” he pronounced. And then, turning back to look me in the eye, added, “Only one more week to go.”


My heart sank. I had nursed a slim home he might release the Miami Vice Grip inside my mouth a week early. Not a chance. “The bone graft is about the consistency of cardboard,” he explained. “Still needs to harden some.” Doc knows best. I kept my mouth shut. What else could I do anyway?

Honestly, the jaw wired shut thing has proven less problematic than I imagined. I could do without the sharp edges digging into my cheeks, but I quickly discovered orthodontic wax to help on that score.

The biggest deprivation? Food and its taste, of course. I posted about this from the get go. I have another week to drill down deeper on the spiritual satisfaction level through this latest episode of cancer and its dramatic impact in my life.

It’s not that I don’t get to taste anything. The choices on a liquid diet, however, are quite limited. I suspect I won’t make another smoothie for months once I can chew again.

I was reminded recently with Gordon Meier’s help, in his book Taste: My New Life Without Food, how the Bible uses the concept of taste with respect to our spiritual lives. Psalm 34:8 provides a perfect example: Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

The Hebrew word translated “taste” occurs eleven times in the Old Testament. In all but two instances it refers to literal tasting of food and drink. But two times it carries this figurative sense of experiencing something to discern its pleasantness.

Proverbs 31:18–referring to the virtuous wife–helps get the meaning of the poet in Psalm 34:8. She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night (emphasis mine).

The Psalmist invites us–actually commands us–to sample the Lord, like a sommelier sips a fine wine, to discern/perceive His surpassing excellence to our soul’s palate. Those who do, he declares, find great blessing having taken refuge in Him.

So I have another week to go without the heavenly taste of stuffed omelets, fried potatoes, grilled salmon, chocolate chip cookies, just to name a few. How does a certified foodie like me do that? He has to focus daily, by God’s grace, on the superior satisfaction of Jesus and His ultimate goodness.

Have you responded to the invitation to taste and see that the Lord is good? Why not see for yourself? Sample some of His fare from the Bible where the words are counted sweeter than honey to the mouth (Psalm 119:103). The Psalms make a great place to start tasting!

Are you experiencing some deprivation of God’s good gifts leaving you hungry and empty? Choose moving toward Him for your soul’s satisfaction for the taste so superior in every way. You’ll be blessed in the refuge He provides.

Taste and see that God is not only good; He is enough.




When Life Is More Than Food

I’ve seen this movie before. The sequel, like most, is worse than the original–at least with respect to the diet. Robojaw 2 leaves me not just meatless for three weeks, but “solidless” in every other way too.


The next twenty-one days for this titanium man mean ingesting only liquids through a syringe. My kingdom for dinner at Emeril’s.

I get discharged today. Things went very well thanks to abundant prayers and Class A cutters and their staff. I’m grateful–really I am. But why back in prolonged involuntary fasting mode–AGAIN?

They kept me alive back in ’05 for four months on IV TPN 12 hour-per day nutrition. Robojaw 1 left me unable to chew solids for an eternity, but at least I could blend meats and the like with lots of sauce in the Vitamix. But this time around enter a new wrinkle–chains on the jaw.

Chewing is my worst enemy toward jaw-rebuild success. That puppy has to stay immobilized. I don’t mind telling you–it’s a really strange feeling to have your mouth clamped shut. Makes spitting a whole new adventure, I assure you.

The Lord gave me some perspective on the matter this morning. I started reading a book called Taste:My New Life Without Food. A couple in my church gifted it to me just before I left for the latest Miami procedure.

Author Gordon Meier, a pastor like me, hasn’t eaten ANYTHING since 2012–thanks to some rare, bizarre intestinal disease I won’t bother to spell out.

He drew me in immediately with his story. I also appreciated his handling of God’s word.

Commenting on Jesus’ teaching in Matt. 6:25-33 about how life is more than food–and a whole lot of other things–he writes:

And whenever I struggle, wanting to eat something so badly, I am rebuked and reminded that my spiritual roots need to go deeper into him, and I am learning to allow Jesus to be my bread that satisfies. All other food only appeals to my surface appetites. My appetites need to be transferred to and focused on that which will last. . . . Physical food simply doesn’t last. But Jesus lasts. He is the essence of what ultimately satisfies (30).

Oh yeah. That’s why I’m meatless in Miami again.

Let me better feast the feast that ultimately satisfies.

I’ll drink to that.


The Blessedness of Making Beef Bourguignon with Your Beloved

Beef Borg 001

Sometimes a guy just has to take stock of how good he’s got it. Today is such a day. My 35th anniversary. That’s right. Thirty-five years ago today Nancy and I tied the knot. Don’t know what we were thinking getting married four days before Christmas but somehow we pulled it off. Definitely would have picked a different time of year if I had it to do over again!

I could reflect on a lot of aspects of married life with my bride that I treasure, some more spiritual than the theme of this post, but somehow it just seems fitting to camp out here for some reason.

On Friday, our day off, Nancy asked me what I would like to do with our day. I replied, “I would like to make beef bourguignon!” Not your average day off response from me, so let me explain.

Recently we saw the movie Julie and Julia. Twice. Yes, I admit it. Please, no mail or negative comments. I found the film so redemptive on so many fronts, not that it’s perfect, that I wanted us to see it a second time (at the dollar theater, by the way, on Tuesday for 75 cents). It is filled with substantive themes like living life with passion and purpose, sweet fellowship with friends, feasting with joy, blogging (the main character blogs about her making over the course of one year every one of Julia Child’s recipes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking), writing (a parallel theme is Child’s writing her cookbook), and, in many ways, marriage. Much of the movie concentrates on the relationships both women had with their husbands throughout the ups and downs of their writing experience. Beef bourguignon is one of the signature recipes in the story. It looked so mouth watering good I was dying to try it.

So sneaky me, I bought Nancy Mastering the Art of French Cooking at Costco for our anniversary (OK, it was really for me) and proposed on Friday that we tackle the recipe together. And we did! We wrote out the menu, shopped together, and spent two hours that afternoon following the recipe (man, am I glad I married a home ec major – talk about complicated) and popped it in the oven for three hours.

That night we sat down to a sumptuous feast of tender beef simmered in red wine with white onions and mushrooms, poured generously over egg noodles with a side dish of peas. And we just lingered at the table. We talked. We laughed. We listened to Christmas carols. We fellowshipped.

Little wonder Jesus describes the intimacy of fellowship with Him like coming for dinner in Rev. 3:20.

My marriage and its intimacy points me to a greater more permanent, more satisfying intimacy I will share with Jesus in the kingdom forever.

Man, am I ever grateful to get that truth and to share thirty-five years and counting with just the sweetest, most faithful woman on the planet. OK, I’m biased, but you have to admit, blessed, indeed, I am.

Nancy, OGC makes me want to be a better pastor. You are the only one who makes me want to be a better man. Thank you. I love you. Always will, by God’s grace. Here’s to our 70th, Lord willing.