When life is grossly awful, scream to the heavens about it. Read the Psalms and pray them. Read Habakkuk. It is good to think that our tears help us taste Christ, and to acknowledge that right now those with heavier burdens than yours may taste Christ more sweetly than you can. It is hellish to lionise suffering. All our tears are passing away (Revelation 21), and Christ makes bitter water sweet (2 Kings 4).
In Psalm 81 we are confronted with a strange phrase:
But he would feed you with the finest of the wheat,
and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.
Honey from the rock? Honey doesn’t come from rocks, I think we’d all be happy to confirm. There’s a moment of surprise here, of confusion, that we shouldn’t gloss over quickly.
It seems to be a reference to the Song of Moses (Deuteronomy 32) where we have honey ‘out of’ the rock. Which appears to be an oblique reference to manna, the desert flakes that were like honey and found laid upon rocks and sand.
It doesn’t take that much work to find out that honey can be found in rocks, and that the wild honey that John the Baptist (Mark 1) fed himself on would the kind made by bees that swarm around cracks in rocks in the wilderness rather than made in the hives as we would be more familiar with.
But our initial surprise at the phrase is the right reaction, because finding wild honey in a rock is an act of delight—not simply a food of survival but a food of delight. To say that God gifts us honey from the rock is say that he gifts sweetness in surprising places and not simply in a land of abundance.
We might also draw a connection to Christ, as the sweet one whose very sweetness come to us from the cross—which we should probably do via Samson’s find of honey in a Lion’s carcass (Judges 14) and the language of the Song of Songs.
All of this got me thinking about salted caramel.
Because, well, it tastes good. But there’s this thing which has been well known in higher end dessert kitchens for some time—a little salt draws out the sweetness, a lot of salt suppresses it.
It is the same in our lives, is it not? A little suffering, the saltwater of your tears painted on your cheeks, increases the sweetness of what God offers us. I think this a general truth, you cannot know the sweetness of knowing Jesus in any real way if your life has been characterised by ease.
You can make your own judgements about yourself, there is no judgement here from me.