Surely, Hemingway or Faulkner or another of the real literary greats could help here.
For the time being, imagine oregano on steroids.
That’s what happened when I emerged from Whole Foods the other day with “nature’s strongest known antibiotic.”
The directions on the bottle call for “1-4 drops daily in juice or milk.”
I duly opened my daughter’s juice box and let loose a few potent drops of the most medicinal concoction I have ever tried- this in hopes of avoiding yet another trip to the doctor for a round of prescription-strength antibiotics.
Sam drank it for a while. Her congestion in this case conveniently obscured the taste until the last few gulps- at which point she shoved her drink in my direction with a summary “I’m done!”
After finishing up the last swigs, I knew why. Only one gulp left a biting sting on my lips and a burning sensation in my throat.
Which was convincing: “I can tell this is going to help,” I thought with great self-satisfaction. Mom had found her remedy.
My husband was less confident.
“Never, ever again buy that stuff!,” he exclaimed on Day 2 of nature’s strongest antibiotic for Mom, Cam and Sam. “Everything I’m tasting in this kitchen tastes like oregano oil now!”
So what if he was sort of right. (Even my children smell like oregano now.) Dads always need a little more time to warm up to great ideas.
I used to think that obedience to God- even just the word- sounded like an oregano oil cocktail for nasty colds. It was like my mother telling me as a child to eat my lima beans. Good for you, yes- but misery going down.
(I still hate lima beans. I avoid them like the plague.)
Someone once told me she had resolved to obey God in her choice of a spouse, even if her future spouse smelled like garlic or looked like a frog. Such things didn’t matter, because in the end if God told her to do it, she would obey.
Yuck. No, thank you.
And, the Bible- or, at least the Old Testament psalms- would seem to agree. “Taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34)…It is good for me to draw near to God (Psalm 73).” God’s goodness and, in turn, our obedience, is unadulterated goodness; it’s not lima beans or oregano oil that, when taken, make you stronger or healthier but totally unhappy if you dine on them everyday.
I suspect it’s also not marrying a frog because God tells you, too, either.
Somewhere along the way I lost all motivation for New Year’s resolutions, because they always ended up sounding like a dose of oregano oil…or, like kissing a frog.
But, the older I get, the more I’m convinced the Psalmist is right. Obedience to God isn’t just good for me. It’s goodness with me- kind of like what the Westminster Catechism means when it states that human beings’ chief aim is to “glorify God and enjoy God forever.”
Which is not to say that God’s goodness for and with us in any way depends on our obedience. Not at all. Only that our obedience participates in God’s goodness with us. It helps us live into that goodness, rather than just stare at it covetously through a window, admiring it.
So, on that note, here’s to a year that tastes and smells of God’s goodness with us, the kind that we don’t have to concoct, but that simply happens, with us, in turn, noticing, enjoying and giving God the glory.