Have you ever tried honeysuckle? Man when I was a kid I used to love tasting honeysuckle. If you’re not familiar with the plant, it is essentially a small white or yellow flower that produces small amounts of edible nectar that can be pulled out and eaten. Each individual flower hardly provides enough satisfaction, and so as kids it wasn’t uncommon for us to sit by honeysuckle bushes and eat nectar for 10, maybe 15 minutes at a time. It wasn’t that we thought it was real honey or anything, but it was tangible and reminded us of what the real thing was like. Each taste only left us longing for more.
Isn’t that what its like for us now in our communion with Christ? There are some days that go by where everything I do, whether its in prayer, reading the scriptures, sharing my faith with others, engaging in Christian fellowship and worship, participating in the church gathered; everything I do just leaves me longing for more. Experiencing the grace of God is so satisfying and never lacking. I just can’t get enough.
Other days are quite the opposite.
Some days feel more like a desert than sitting near a provision of his grace. There are some weeks where it feels so long since I’ve had just a drop – a small drop – of anything even remotely satisfying or quenching that I’m left desperate even for one microscopic taste of grace. Oh how I would desire just a taste! Oh God on those days would you just grant me one small drop of your grace again? Do not keep your presence far from me! As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God! My soul thirsts for God, for the living God (Psalm 42:1-2)!
And this is his kindness toward us, that when we feel ourselves distant and in a drought, God is eager to once again lavish on us the taste of his goodness and grace. His Spirit cries out from within us, “taste and see that the Lord is good!” For those who are in Christ, God promises a river of living water (John 7:38) and bread that will never leave us hungry (John 6:35). Like the Israelites who ate manna in the wilderness, so too does God give us means of grace to nourish us on our pilgrimage.
There is a tension now in the reality of this life. As we look forward to the day when our cup will never be empty and our plates will always be full, in this life God has given us his means of grace to nourish and satisfy us. Every moment in prayer, every moment in the word, every moment gathered with the church, every time we partake in the Holy Communion is as if grasping for small tastes of something sweet and nourishing. Satisfied yet never full; delighted and always longing for more. Mere drops of what is to come with the flowing, endless rivers of joy, peace, love and grace.