After a very long wait to get here, I am now 15 weeks pregnant with our first child. What no one told me about morning sickness and food cravings and food aversion was that it wouldn’t just be certain foods that would make my stomach churn. For me, it’s pretty much everything. I used to have a very healthy appetite. I loved food and cooking. Now, there is absolutely nothing that tastes good. I wish I were exaggerating, but it’s true. Really, there are only just a few things that don’t taste bad. I no longer get hungry, just queasy and gross-feeling from low blood sugar. No one warned me about this.
Sometimes this happens in our spiritual lives, too. It may not be a specific event or life change that brings it about, but our spiritual tastes and needs change. The prayers and scriptures and songs that used to make us feel so fulfilled and close to God just don’t do it anymore. We feel empty and lonely and disappointed. No one warned us this could happen.
But it does, and sometimes we have to get creative about how to deal with it. Sometimes it is just for a season, sometimes the change is a permanent change of taste. Like Ecclesiastes 3 says, there is a season for everything, and sometimes the season you’re used to is over. God plans on interacting with you in a different way now. I used to be able to meet God through cooking. I’m not a remarkable cook, but I enjoy it. That time was an opportunity for me to be at peace with God, while I chopped onions and sautéed zucchini. It was how I cared for my husband and how I helped my friends realize their God-given abilities. Food was how I loved.
So now I get to learn a new way to love. Now God gets to talk to me in a new way. I don’t know what that will be, and I pray that the old way will just be gone for a season.
If you’ve never really been able to connect with or see the greater narrative in the Old Testament, I’d strongly encourage you to pick up a copy of The Story, an edition of the Bible put into chronological order (with some of the less-narrative parts removed/summarized and overlapping portions, like the gospels, combined). While it’s not The Bible, exactly, it taught me so much about God’s relationship with the Israelites. For the first time, I was able to see God’s greater hand in his interactions with his chosen people; I could see the pattern. Time and time again, the Israelites strayed away from their calling and disobeyed God. And time and time again, God revealed himself to them, coming to them in different ways each time, rebuking them in love and offering himself to them again, over and over and over and over again.
God’s faithfulness is not stifled by our inability to see him. God’s love is not lessened by our inability to feel him. God’s passion is not abated by our inability to hear him.
When the Israelites disobeyed and refused to enter the Promised Land out of fear, they were disciplined with forty years of wandering. Although they were fed with holy and miraculous food, it was not particularly appetizing. It was just sufficient. It wasn’t comfortable. It wasn’t the way they were used to hearing from God. But it was how he was choosing to speak to them during that season. It took them a whole generation to learn how to listen. I am praying that it won’t take me that long.