As humans we are created with five basic senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. These senses are fundamental to our ability to enjoy life to the full. Sure, there are people who have lost the sense of sight and still live fulfilling lives; people who have lost the sense of hearing and still are blessed every day; some people have a reduced sense of smell but enjoy life to the full.
But . . . if you had to give up one of your five senses, which one would you choose?
Luckily, most of us never have to make that choice. Some of us end up having the choice made for us due to accidents or illnesses. And it is often not until you have lost something that you come to realise how important it is in your life. We take so many things for granted, it almost creates a sense of apathy within us. I know this to be true for myself.
Taste, as one of the five basic senses, is referred to 32 times in the Bible (NKJV). In most of these references, taste is dealing with the real sensation of eating food and recognising the flavours present.
There are however a few verses where the word taste is talking about something apart from the sensory experience that food gives you.
Psalm 34:8 is one such example. “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good” (NKJV).
Oh, taste. Why taste?
I’m on the other side of a seven-week treatment for a carcinogenic tumour that attacked my throat region. Early on, in the treatment preparation phase, the specialists pointed out that one of the side effects of the treatment would be a loss of taste.
While you sort of hear it and make a mental note of the comments, you do not really comprehend the ramifications—until it hits for real.
Taste was just one of the side effects. There were a number of others, like potential hair loss, changes to my hearing, tingling in my fingers and toes etc. Loss of taste just became another one to be aware of in the long list of things that could impact my life as I went through the treatment regime. [pullquote]
After losing my sensation of taste completely, it has become clear to me just how much it adds to the enjoyment of life. As I shared with a dear friend of mine, “Everything that you put in your mouth tastes like a packet of Weet-Bix. That is, the taste of the cardboard box, not the biscuits!”
You see delicious food everywhere and your imagination runs wild with the memory of all the flavours. Yet, nothing registers once you put it in your mouth. Nothing! Nada! Rien!
When reading Psalm 34:8, I can’t help but wonder why God used the sensation of taste to appeal to us. He could have used any of the other senses, as He has in many other verses in Scripture, but here He chose taste.
Taste is so important to the enjoyment of eating, but it is not until you have lost it that you truly comprehend how important it really is. It impacts not just the physical enjoyment of eating but also the mental enjoyment. It stimulates your appetite and your desire to eat. It often makes you eat more than you physically need, to the detriment of your waistline.
God uses the sensation of taste in this case as it points to His unbounding goodness. The sensation of taste will make you want more of God. It stimulates your appetite—to want to be closer to God, it makes you crave more of Him.
While my tastebuds have left the station for the time being, I’m savouring the goodness of God, claiming His promise that when I taste, He will pour out His goodness in abundance.
Ole Pedersen is manager of Hope Channel New Zealand.