I am a foodie. If you’ve ever been around me at any type of meal involving delicious food, you’ve probably heard me moan and groan and make statements like, “It’s like the sun rising in my mouth!” You would have also probably heard me give thanks to God for the creation of taste buds. I thank God for taste buds at least once every other day. The love relationship I have with delicious food is comparable only to my love relationship with the Creator of all things great and delicious.
You see, God didn’t have to give us the ability to taste food. We need food to survive, and he certainly could have given us food and the ability to discern what’s good to eat without us ever actually enjoying the process. But in his infinite goodness, he gave us taste buds, my favorite part of the human anatomy. Now, we can not only find sustenance from food, but pleasure as well. What a good God!
Lately, the idea that marriage doesn’t exist for happiness or companionship or beautiful intimacy, but rather, to bring God glory has been slowly wrecking my expectations of life. If I’m looking forward to marriage as a means to an end, as a place where I am known and loved in the most intimate of ways, a place where I’m guaranteed a constant companion who will never leave me – if this is what marriage means to me, then I’m missing the point.
The purpose of marriage is for our sanctification and God’s glorification. He takes two people, on separate journeys of their own, and brings them together at a point when their union best glorifies him and sanctifies them. They might groan and mumble and complain about being tired of waiting and longing for something that seems so far out of reach. They might even think God doesn’t care. But he’s taking his time with them because he knows that the moment that will bring him the most glory and make them the most like Him isn’t quite here yet. And that’s the whole point of marriage – to become more like Christ therefore bringing him glory. And he didn’t have to give us the happiness and giddiness that come with romance. He certainly didn’t need to allow us to enjoy sex when it could have been an act saved solely for reproduction, as with the other animals. But he gave us the gifts of romance and giddiness and happiness and irrepressible laughter and stupendous lovemaking. What a good, good God!
The thing is, we would be satisfied with tasteless food if we didn’t know anything better existed. We would be satisfied with a decent companion and purely reproductive sexual encounters if we weren’t aware that we could have more. Like this beautifully eloquent quote from C.S. Lewis says,
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
We are prone to settle for “good enough”, too scared to seek out God’s best. Because what if God’s best never really comes? What if this semi-tasty morsel is all I’m going to get and I’m too afraid to hope for a mouth-watering, sensationally delicious meal because it would require more courage than I think I possess? Why do you think God gave us imaginations? So we could dream pitiful, puny dreams and pray prudent prayers?
Sometimes, we gather enough faith to ask God for the real desires of our heart, then we almost immediately begin to doubt that he would, in fact, want to give them to us. So when the first thing that remotely resembles what we asked for comes along, we’re quick to settle. Because what if He doesn’t give us what we actually asked for and we miss out on this thing right here infront of us? One of my best friends asked God for a sign to confirm the things he was speaking to her heart. She asked for a flock of white birds to fly by as she sat by the lake. A few minutes later, a flock of black birds flew by. You know what she did? She settled. “Well, Lord, that’s kinda close to what I asked for so I’ll take it.” She sat there for a while, still talking to God. Then she got up to leave. And then, a flock of white birds flew by. Imagine her surprise.
Imagine your surprise when you finally choose to hold out for the white birds and not just settle for the black birds. How many times does he have to reassure our doubtful hearts that he hears us and he cares for us and he wants to give good gifts to us? We don’t need taste buds, we don’t need sexual euphoria, hell, we don’t even need gorgeous landscapes and sunrises. But he gives them to us anyways because his goodness is just. that. unfathomable. We were made for more; our Father is always seeking to give us more, yet we never ask him and, instead, choose to be cowards and settle. Ask in faith, wait patiently for Him, and be utterly amazed at how intimately and perfectly he satisfies our desires.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Eph 3:20-21
“‘But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.’ But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.” Heb. 11:38-39