I have a dear Sister that was assigned to me. That’s right; she was directed to take me on and love me. It reminds me of my dad’s saying when he would joke with us, “You were so goofy looking when you were little; we had to tie a pork chop around your neck so the dog would play with you!” We kids thought that was so funny, and we would laugh and laugh. Anyway, I was such a mess in my twenties and early thirties, spiritually, that no one would have wanted to be tasked with loving me no matter what delicacy was dangling from my neck!
Don’t get the wrong idea here, I am not feeling sorry for myself at all. When I look back and think of all the trouble I had gotten myself into, and how much I wanted others to see my “plight” and feel compassion for me on my terms, I wonder how this dear Sister was able to stick it out with me. But then, she never told me what I wanted to hear either; she told me the Truth. As she walked with me, and faithfully told me God’s Truth in Love, I began to gain an appetite for it.
This dear Sister invited me to call her anytime, day or night. I think back to this open-ended invitation and it still floors me. As a wife and home school mother to three (while keeping another part-time job) her plate was full, and I know sleep had to be a scarce and sacred commodity. Yet, when I called in the wee hours of the morning and drug her out of her cozy bed and away from the nearness of her husband, she never complained. She simply readied herself to listen and answer honestly in truth. As painful as it was to hear sometimes, I always went away feeling as though my malnourished heart and mind had been fed a healthy and satisfying meal. I left with a good taste in my spiritual mouth and could fall asleep and rest, as my heart digested the Word and wisdom God faithfully spoke through her. Her and her family’s selflessness and sacrifice was true love—used by the Father to help save me and spur me on down the path that I had wandered so far from.
I often think of my Sister’s marvelous ability to relate all the blessings and truths of God’s Word to food. The Word says in Psalm 34:8, “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him,” and that is exactly how she related God’s Word to me through those years, and still does today. God, in His clever and awesome orchestration knew full well how I would respond to those illustrations. Those that know me best understand that in my mind, all things pleasurable revolve around good food and conversation. God gave me the gift of a friend who is “closer than a brother” and who teaches me to feast on the Word of God.
You might hear her say of a good book or testimony, “Yum! That was so chalk full of Truth, I had to munch, crunch and chew on that for a few days… Delicious!” In passing, you may think she is talking about her most recent and delightful gastronomic experience, when in fact; it is actually her spirit that is devouring delectable dishes of Truth. It is her spirit that she keeps well fed, which in turn, continues to grow a strong and healthy faith, steeped in the blessings and riches of Christ. Her carefully trained and sensitive palate relishes the sweet milk of God’s Word, while sipping on the tender love and gentleness of the Father—carefully, mulling over, tasting and testing each glorious promise, and savoring each enticing aroma of hope, grace and salvation.
Yet, she also has a great appetite and sturdy gut for the bold, rich fare of meat in God’s Word; meat that smacks of careful and honest reflection. Her devoted heart demands that nothing is wasted and that her spirit receives and responds to all that the Father holds for her. Robust and sharp flavors linger, flavors that need time and discipline to become acquired tastes of the heart and spirit. Sometimes shocking piquant morsels, that others may purposely ignore or miss, are sought after to wake the spirit and provoke growth and broadened understanding.
This is who I want to be—one who truly hungers and thirsts for the righteousness of God, desiring His Truth at the cost of complacent comfort. Thank you, sweet Sister, for your love, example, and testimony. Thank you for your heart and belly for Jesus!
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. (Matthew 5:6)
Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. (Isaiah 55:1-2)
All Bible references taken from the New International Version.