I love candy. I know, I know, sugar is the new fat, sugar is bad for me, sugar is rotting my teeth and my brain. Blah, blah, blah.
But also? It’s just so delicious.
One of my favorite childhood memories is visiting my grandparents in Peoria. My cousins and aunts and uncles were there too, and the house would fill with the raucous noise of kids bouncing from one room to the next, banging on the piano, begging for computer time, arguing over toys.
Once a day Grandpa would put his shoes and his coat on and point to the front door. “Let’s go!” he would say. We knew what that meant: a trip to the penny candy store in town and $1 each.
Walking those aisles and selecting each five- or ten-cent piece felt like the decision of a lifetime. Did I want a regular Tootsie Roll or an orange-flavored one? How much licorice was too much? Who knew they made grape Sour Patches?
It was our daily taste of indulgence, Christmas in summer, a treat we savored as we each walked out of the store with a small, white paper sack, the bell on the door jingling cheerily.
Now that I have kids I realize that $1 day is a small price to pay for the peace and quiet of a mile walk into town and a mile walk back. Grandma had time to start dinner, the aunts could take a nap or read a book, the uncles played chess or watched sports on a television that usually played only Looney Tunes reruns or The Ghost and Mr. Limpet. (My grandparents were big Don Knotts fans.)
We’d eat our candy as we walked home and then buzz around the neighborhood park like hummingbirds, sugar coursing through our little systems. Then we’d arrive at my grandparents house, greeted by the smell of whatever amazing dinner grandma had concocted during our absence.
After all that sugar, we were ready for some food.
It’s an apt metaphor for our spiritual lives as well. So often we seek out sugar–instant gratification, a quick hit of encouragement or wisdom or help, just enough of a rush to get us through another hour, another day, another week.
Yet God wants to nourish us far more deeply than that. Spiritual growth comes slowly, incrementally, in the everydayness of showing up to feast in the Word, drink from the well, be fed by the Savior.
So why do we binge on sweets when only the savory will sustain us?
Isaiah offers gentle chastisement on this very thing in chapter 55:
Why pay for food that does you no good? (NLT)
The Message translation puts it this way:
Why do you spend your money on junk food, your hard-earned cash on cotton candy?
And then the brilliant conclusion:
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare. (NIV)
The food God offers is freely given, there for us each and every day. Manna from heaven for the satiation of our very souls.
Let us feast, friends.
How is God nourishing you these days?