Thursday, September 02, 2004

the real thing

This is not an add for that insidious brown liquid that we hear so much about but rather a lesson learned watching my son eat, or not eat as the case may be.
I’ve always been a little bit leery of preservatives, my body doesn’t particularly like them and quite frankly, they scare me. How things that go bad in my fridge after a day or two can last on a store shelf, unrefrigerated, indefinitely, is something that should make all of us quiver. My personal opinion…those pudding things are by far the worst.
My husband is a bit of a pushover when it comes to buying treats for the kids. He tries to be tough but when they all say please he is putty in their hands. So, he bought these highly preserved jelly thingies as treats. They would each get one of these delectable treats for dessert. They could hardly wait to get through the meal. The real food that particular evening included a plate of fruit, which my #2 son was enjoying with great zeal. Then came the treat. I read the list of ingredients looking for something recognizable, aahhh there it is ‘contains real fruit juice’ – what a drop or two so they can say it on the label? How can it survive in that sea of chemical? I located the jelly with the least amount of red food dye and handed that to Chris. Everyone else was a tiny bit deflated because green was the sought after colour. They opened their packages of slime and dove in. The other three consumed their preservatives with gusto but I noticed that Chris was not exactly eating his but rather playing with it and had a funny look on his face. I asked him what the trouble was. His pained expression caught at my heart, he obviously wasn’t enjoying the ‘treat’. “It doesn’t taste good,” he says, “maybe I’ll try it again later.” And he left the table.
My husband and I mused on that a little as we reflected back in the ensuing quiet that happens for a few seconds after the kids leave the table. Then a flower bloomed. He had just consumed a wealth of the real thing, honest to goodness fruit with the peals on and everything. There was no way that artificial colour and dye could compare to that. No wonder it had tasted so foul to him. It was a good kick in the pants for me as I realized that too often I settle for the artificial, the glossy package, the eye-candy gospel, the label claiming, ‘just read this – contains real Bible verses’. I sometimes forget what the REAL thing is all about – the blood of Jesus, the pureness of His obedience and devotion and worship of His Father. I forget how truly satisfying it is to just be with God, how refreshing, how healthy, how vital. Just the bare, unvarnished truth that God loves me and really believing that truth is more healing, more life giving, than anything I know. If I truly want to thrive I will need to be fueling that spirit-man of mine with the real stuff, the word of God, true worship, honest prayer. I cannot settle for less, my health depends on it.
Would you like an orange with that Psalm?

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