So I made this smoothie: Two little lemons–whole (peel, pith, seeds, you get it)–two palm sized broccoli florets, one whole zucchini, handful of baby carrots, kale and spinach…no, wait, here comes the sweet part: frozen mango, two bananas, and some thick berry juice. Blend it, blend it, blend it and voila! So refreshing. And I got to wondering, why does this work? Sour, bitter, pungent–shouldn’t that ruin the rest? Like a parking ticket ruins your day, or gossip ruins a friendship, or grief makes life hard to bear.
But what if it were only mango, banana, and berry juice? Where’s the tang, the nutrients, the fortification? The first taste of sweetness is a delight, but after a while it either loses its impact or cloys. There’s nothing for the other taste buds that just lie there unstimulated. That seems like a life with no risk, no sacrifice, no effort or even failure. But aren’t these what make us better–or at least try harder?
I read a booklet years ago called Conformity with God’s will. The premise was that we should delight equally in trials and triumphs because the whole of it is God’s purpose for us. The blending of the sorrows and the joys, the bitter and the sweet, the pungent and the pleasant prepares our souls for Christ.
I wonder what would happen if I embraced irritations, popped them in the blender with amusements. Heartache, in you go with ecstasy, because who can sustain either? But isn’t one better because of the other?
In Paul’s words to the Philippians: “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
Now, as I work my straw over the bottom of the glass, I’m fairly confident I’ll be healthier for it–and thankful that life has the richness and texture of whatever experience the Father knows we need.