It was my wife's birthday the other evening and we went out for a meal. We don't eat out that often, so when we do, we like to find somewhere good. We struck gold.
First of all there was the pleasant, but difficult task of choosing what to have. The menu with its descriptions of flavours and the aroma coming from the kitchen made it difficult to concentrate on actually picking the required courses. It was easy to get lost in a daze of anticipated flavours.
Eventually we managed to make up our minds. Then the food started to arrive. Succulent tender meat, seasoned to perfection with the richest of flavours. Vegetables, carefully selected and cooked to compliment. Each mouthful having a slightly different savour from the last, each forkful caressing the tastebuds with new and luscious flavours.
Amidst this paradise of culinary delight I found myself thinking about the peculiarity of eating and the pleasure that it brings. Why are there so many flavours that delight us? Why do we get nourishment in such a pleasurable way? Could we not just as easily stick our finger into the ground and drink up nutrients that way? Or better still why were we made to need to eat at all?
Evolution doesn't really explain the whole thing does it? After all what role does the development of taste buds play in the survival of the fittest?
Surely it speaks to us of God - a God who takes great delight in creating pleasure, who derives enjoyment from seeing people find satisfaction and contentment. Think for a moment of all the vast range of tastes you enjoy - from a rich chocolate cake, to a spicy curry, to the unbeatable fresh Donegal catch wrapped in crispy batter, to the refreshing glass of chilled milk on a hot day, to the simplicity of fresh spuds and a knob of butter melting down through it.
Why all the variety? Why all the pleasure? Simply because God is a God who loves pleasure. We were made to enjoy all his pleasures, and although sin has made a mess of the world, we are still able to enjoy some of them. They are God's gifts. In pleasure God whispers to us that he is there.