I remembered hearing this young boy (where?... I have no idea...the park, the store, standing line at the zoo...fill in the blank because it is not really germane to the story anyway) say something that didn't strike me as odd or sad or pathetic at first. But eventually I realized it was all those things and more. And it was really not even his fault. So..what did he say?
It was how he reacted toward a piece of fruit. "Hey, this tastes just like a peach!", he exclaimed loudly as little children do in public places to the chagrin of their parents. As I glanced over, curious at what it could be, I think I smiled, because he had just taken a bite of...a peach. Maybe he was too young to know that a peach was what he was holding or maybe he wasn't paying attention, being distracted by a dog or a clown or a firetruck. Who knows? He continued to spout excitements about his discovery. And I continued to eavesdrop.
Eventually, as the sun rose on this horrible fruit truth, I realized now seeing fully, that the boy had never eaten a peach. Not an actual peach that fell off an actual peach tree. He had only had peach-flavored ice cream or peach-flavored candy or peach jelly or peach fruit drink...flavored of course, but never the genuine article. Difficult to fathom, at least now the kid had enjoyed a real peach. It is a bit understandable..I mean enjoying real peaches is difficult. It's hard work.
Think about it...first of all, you have to get them in season, then you have to pick through a pile of peaches to find some good ones, then you have to be sure to wash them off (because nothing ruins a good peach experience like insecticide), and after all that work they may not even be very good. But man when they are!..peaches are messy! There is no polite way to eat a ripe peach. (Personally, I consider that a plus...but that's me) And if you don't eat them in time they go bad. It's just so much easier to substitute with fake peach products. They fit in so much better with our busy 21st century jet-setting lifestyles. Just like God.
It wasn't until a few days ago I made this connection. How eating peaches is kind of like our relationship to God. In our culture we have so much God-flavored stuff. Christian music, Christian books, Christian dating sites, Christian movies, websites, schools...blah, blah, blah .... How easy in our busy schedules it is to forget and actually enjoy the real thing. God Himself.
So, as you're blasting your radio driving down I-95 singing along with some Chris Tomlin or Toby Mac, or watching Fireproof with your spouse (or VeggieTales with your kids) for the 3rd time, don't forget that God, the real God from the real heaven, who really loves you, wants to fellowship with you and show you why no God-flavored thing can ever properly substitute for Him.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW
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