It's Thanksgiving week so of course I am going to write about gratitude right? Sure, I am grateful for the food! Seriously, would it be the best holiday without the meal? I think not. In fact, I have a strong suspicion most of you might love it so much, you will eat the exact same meal the next day. Aren't leftovers bliss? So good!
Truly though, this week, this year...I want you to see your Thanksgiving dinner differently.
One of my favorite people in the Bible is David. The dude could write, pray, praise, lament, and conquer like none other. I just cannot get enough of Psalms, ever. But before I get to the one I am obsessed with right now, let me try something.
My favorite dessert is tiramisu. Tiramisu is an elegant and rich layered Italian dessert made with delicate ladyfinger cookies, espresso or instant espresso, mascarpone cheese, eggs, sugar, Marsala wine, rum and cocoa powder. Through the grouping of these diverse ingredients, an intense yet refined dish emerges. The delicate flavor of layers of mascarpone and Italian custard are contrasted with the darkly robust presence of espresso and sharpness of cocoa powder. The name itself, tiramisu, means “pick me up” in Italian most likely referring to the two caffeinated ingredients that are present in the dish, espresso and cocoa.
When making tiramisu, the Savoiardi ladyfingers are soaked in a mixture of espresso (or instant espresso) rum and sugar. The crunchy biscuits become soft once the espresso mixture is added. Next, a layer of mascarpone cheese and a layer of zabaglione are added. Zabaglione is traditional Italian custard made from egg yolks, Marsala wine, and sugar. Ladyfingers are important to tiramisu, giving it a texture that contrasts well with the silky layers of mascarpone and custard. Tiramisu is finished with a dusting of rich cocoa powder—a key component of its appearance and taste! (Thanks, Delallo!)
I want to ask you this....although that description accurately captures the gloriousness of the most decadent dessert on earth, did you truly realize it's amazingness by reading about it or by my excitement for and deep love of it? What if you actually tasted it? Do you think then you would have a different experience of the dessert?
It's the same with Thanksgiving dinner, we all love it because we have experienced it. We've tasted it. We know it. And so it is with God's goodness.
"Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him." Psalm 34:8
The first three years after giving my life to Christ were the most difficult three years I've ever had to endure. I learned two things right out of the gate: that Christianity was not for the faint of heart and, that God was not a genie in a lamp. Those three years were most certainly not what I would have spent three wishes on. But the God I got a front row seat to watch shore me up and comfort me during the devastation was a good, good Father, a loving support, a gracious heart healer, a profound provider and a fabulous friend finder (love you, Cari!). The first gift I was immediately given from God was an insatiable thirst for the word. He spoke to me daily as we became acquainted. He was personal and kind. He was strong and unshakeable. He was gentle yet nurturing. Ours was a fast friendship and I was falling deeper in love with my Father every second I spent with him. I learned to trust him and I tasted his grace, mercy and kindness. It was from allowing myself to experience Him through his word that my perceptions shifted. I saw the life I was living from a different lens. I realized that trusting Him meant I was rewarded with love, joy, peace, self-worth, forgiveness, redemption, salvation, strength, hope, gentleness. I tasted the glory of God and my eyes of my heart were opened to see his immense goodness.
We can't possibly think that we can know the kindness and love and goodness of God without ever having allowed ourselves to trust Him. Without complete surrender of ourselves and our desires, we only get the "description of tiramisu" version of God. It's one dimensional. It's flat. It's impersonal. It's forgettable. Surrender is immersion and reliance. It's tasting, and savoring. Surrender leads to the full realization and the complete experience of all of who God is.
Oh, my heart is just bursting here because I have tasted and seen. I have surrendered my heart. But I have to confess, there are parts of my life that until yesterday, I have not given the Lord access to. The sermon series at North Point church the past three weeks has been about giving. This week Pastor Andy taught about trusting God with our finances. I have never done that, but yesterday, I signed up for automatic debit of 10% of my weekly take home. Right now, I am not a cheerful giver and I have a bad taste in my mouth. I am telling you, I'm struggling with this follow Jesus thing in this arena. But...I am surrendering. Struggling immensely with it, but surrendering and I'll let you know if it is better than tiramisu in a few months.
Thursday, thank Him for allowing you access to him to taste and see. Thursday, be grateful for the feast that is salvation and redemption. Thursday, be mindful of those who you may share your feast with. And I pray, zealously I pray, that on Thursday you all get to taste your favorite dessert.
How are you going to surrender this week? Let me know, I will pray for you.