Hotel buffet breakfasts are a wonderful thing. The ability to eat as much as you want, and with such a variety, it a special pleasure which should be savoured. One aspect of buffet breakfasts I particularly enjoy is the array of juices. I’m a big fruit juice fan, and my go-to juice is orange. But when you are in a hotel and the variety is there, it’s good to push the boat out.
On a short break in Bath last year, our hotel lived up to expectations and gave me choice. And there, amid the apple and the orange, I saw grapefruit juice. Red, tropical and exotic, it called me. The moment I set eyes on it, I knew it was mine. As I poured, I could almost taste that tangy grapefruit flavour.
And then I sipped.
Not grapefruit juice. Tomato juice.
I like to think I’m fairly broad in my food and drink tastes – there’s not a lot I don’t like. But tomato juice I cannot stand. Not a bit. So imagine my disappointment when I downed my what-I-thought-was grapefruit-juice drink, and it turned out to be vile tomato juice. I was not happy.
Bizarrely enough, this incident came back to me the other day. There was no reason for it to – I wasn’t anywhere near a variety of juices. But it got me thinking.
Sometimes it seems that, in our lives, we are quick to rush to those things we thing will ‘taste’ good – money, power, positions, statuses, lifestyles. And so often, we don’t take the time to consider them, discern them and figure them out. Like my excitement for grapefruit juice, we can often jump at something which looks amazing, but turns out not to be.
The things of God, we know, are good. One of the Bible verses I’ve always found wonderful – if not a little nutty – is Psalm 34:8 – “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (and it doesn’t just mean when you get the super-tasty Tiger Bread at communion, although that certainly helps).
God’s ways, God’s love, God’s plans for us are good. Our challenge is to seek them, to seek Him, to try to discern His plans for us and to follow them, in a world that is constantly throwing things at us, like tomato juice masquerading as grapefruit juice (and more serious things). It’s not easy, and we don’t and won’t always get it right. But once you have tasted the goodness of the Lord, there is nothing else that beats it.
Not even grapefruit juice.