Whenever I come across these words from psalm 34, they are not silently spoken. They are sung, in a high, rich voice in my head. It is impossible not to hear this music. The melody provided the emotional connection when I was a teenager in the church choir. Now that I have lived a little and seen some ups and downs of life, and seen how God dealt with me through them, it is the power of the words and their truth that arrests me.
Those words would have perhaps seemed pious to my teenage self, but they are not the words of a teenager. They are the words of someone who has experienced God’s graciousness, the long view of his steadfast kindness over time.
Nowadays I am more familiar with the Bible in modern language, and the NIV puts it like this:
“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”
As I look back over what has endured and what is reliable and the source of life in my life, it is the connection to the living God, to Jesus and the Father and the Holy Spirit, renewed and tested and renewed again, that has proved to determine how good life has been.
Today ‘taking refuge’ took the form of time with a friend who reminded me who am I, who helped me stop obsessing over my weaknesses, reminded me of my strengths and why God created me that way, with purpose in mind.
Yesterday, ‘taking refuge’ meant worshipping God with my colleagues, and allowing God’s thoughts to bubble up in us as we meditated together on the truths we had been singing about.
These days the music is more likely to have been written by United Pursuit than Ralph Vaughan Williams, but it still means stepping into a very special place where I get to be emotional about who God is, and about the journey we’ve been on together. As the music forces us to reflect on what has been, I know that God has been faithful.