Written by Jasmin Izumikawa
Two years ago, chemo-treatments stole my appetite for food. I remember feeling empty inside and unsure if I was hungry or nauseated. Three times a day, the hospital cafeteria would call my room to take my order. I ordered food so the nutritionist wouldn’t lecture me, but when the tray arrived, I would glimpse at it and let it go cold.
In the hospital, sleeping was difficult so I’d fumble over to the window, dragging my chemo-stand with me and sat there with my head resting on the cold glass, watching the cars drive by on the highway belt all night. My mom would leave a small cooler in my room with snacks just in case I felt hungry, which was usually never. That night, I knew I had to at least try to eat, so I cracked it open for the first time. There was a small Tupperware of sliced melons. I knew it would taste bitter like everything else because of the chemo. I picked up a piece of honeydew and placed it in my mouth. It was the sweetest melon I had ever tasted in my life. After months of being starved and living off of liquids and pills, that sweet melon dissolving inside my mouth broke me and had me whimpering in tears in the corner of that hospital room. While things in my cancer-ridden life felt so sour and bitter for so long, it was like tasting sweetness for the very first time. Sometimes, we live in our weaknesses for so long that we forget the sweetness of our Lord.
Oftentimes, I opt for the energy-bar version of the gospel in my daily life. Rather than going to the source that will satisfy my hunger for God, I pick up a Christian best-seller about Jesus rather than go to Jesus and be satiated in His presence. I tune into Christian radio stations but my hearing quickly becomes selective to the voice of God in my life. It’s like getting full from snacks instead of a nutritionally balanced meal. My spirit starves for the sweetness of our God. Christian books and music are great but nothing will fill us, heal us, empower us, love us, satisfy us, and impact us like our personal encounter with Jesus Christ. Taste and see that the Lord is good. “How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103)
- Can you remember a time when you no longer enjoyed life? What happened? What do you think was the cause?
- How can you restore sweetness to your life in times of bitterness? Are you willing to take those steps?