October 18, 2019

Oh, Taste and See . . .

Recently I completed a seven-week treatment for a carcinogenic tumor 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 hear the words and make a mental note of them, you do not really comprehend the ramifications—until it hits for real.

Taste was just one of the side effects. A number of others included hair loss, changes to my hearing, and tingling in my fingers and toes. Loss of taste became another effect to be aware of in the long list of things that could impact my life as I went through the treatment regime.

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. But if you had to give up one of your five senses, which one would you choose?

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 realize 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 implies dealing with the real sensation of eating food and recognizing the flavors present.

There are, however, a few verses where the word taste means 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?

After losing my sense 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, when you lose this sense, “Everything that you put in your mouth tastes like a cardboard box!” You see delicious food everywhere, and your imagination runs wild with the memory of all the flavors. Yet, nothing registers once you put it in your mouth. Nothing!

When reading Psalm 34:8, I can’t help wondering 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 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 affects 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.

I believe God uses the sensation of taste in this case as it points to His unbounded 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 taste buds have left the station for the time being, I’m savoring the goodness of God, claiming His promise that when I taste, He will pour out His goodness in abundance.

The original version of this commentary was posted by Adventist Record. Ole Pedersen is manager of Hope Channel New Zealand.