My kids will tell you that I eagerly subscribe to the theory that some foods are just too good for kids. It’s the reason that, when they were all very small, I would grill a steak for my wife and myself but cook up a batch of hot dogs (or “tube-steaks” as I prefer to call them) for the kids. I really didn’t do this to deprive my kids, but rather because they just didn’t appreciate the difference. They were just as happy with the hot dogs.
As they got older, there was a point for each one when they would ask for a bite – probably out of curiosity as to why we had something different. As they were given a taste of the good stuff, they began to be less and less satisfied with their hot dogs.
Lately it seems that there are some very sweet things in life that I have enjoyed very much – perhaps more than ever. There are the family ultimate frisbee games and mealtimes soaked in raucous laughter. There are special moments of joy with my amazing wife. There are beautiful moments of worship with the community of faith where I have the honor to serve. There are wonderful times with friends over coffee that things seem just right.
But, at the same time, there is the sadness that comes when the kids have to go back to college and the demands of life pull my marriage in different directions. The worship times end and the hospital visits begin and the gut-wrenching prayer times as the pain of watching my friends hurt just breaks my own heart. There is the drudgery of trying to get out of bed and drag myself to the gym that puts a damper on life.
Why is it that these hard parts of life make it so unsatisfying sometimes? Why can’t the sweet moments last longer?
I had a moment of clarity this morning as I listened to the song you’ll find below. I don’t know why I’m so slow to get it.
I just finished preaching through Romans 8 where we are taught so much about the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of those who trust in Jesus. Right in the middle of the chapter it seems like Paul turns off the highway and begins to talk about suffering and how it doesn’t even begin to compare to the glory we will one day experience (v. 18).
He points out the reality that all of creation “…has been groaning together…” in preparation for that day that is to come and how we that believe in Jesus will one day come to the completion of our adoption process as children of God (vv. 22-23).
Why do even the sweet moments have an aftertaste of longing? I think I get it. It’s just because we’ve been given – by the presence of the Holy Spirit in us – just a taste of what is to come.
If the games and family mealtimes here are so sweet – just imagine when there is no goodbye at the end! If the imperfect intimacy with my almost-but-not-quite-perfect wife is so rich, how much greater when we know one another with perfect understanding! If worship here is great, how incredible will it be in heaven? How amazing will those coffee-times be when there is no clock to tell us we have to go?
You see, we have been given just a taste…
A taste of eternity that is joyful in the presence of our great God, but never quite satisfied, always longing for that time to come. Listen to this awesome worship song and remember – there’s a reason so much of life seems like just another tube-steak sandwich.
(And yes, there will be coffee in heaven – thou shalt not convince me otherwise.)