I don’t feel nauseous often. And for that I’m thankful. As a kid, however, it seemed that I had stomach aches for various reasons with frequency. I’ve always hated them. I will say this though, anytime I get a stomach ache, be it from flu or food poisoning or something else, it’s always a time of deep personal reflection as I have nothing to do but lie there and wait for the feeling to subside. Any slight break in the queasiness is a welcome relief. And I feel like if I never ate anything at all, ever again for the rest of my life, that’d be fine. But inevitably, my appetite returns and things balance out and go back to normal. If only I could get that insulated and overly sensitive feeling that always accompanies a stomach ache—without the stomach ache. The “deep personal reflection” isn’t worth the pain.
This being said, there is a word that, if I think about it long enough, will produce something akin to nausea in me. I guess this is a good thing considering the word and its definition. But as I previously mentioned, nausea and I don’t abide well. I have yet to meet someone who enjoys the occasional tummy ache. The word in question is kerygma. If I think about this word long enough, repeating it over and over, I do feel the beginnings of a psychosomatic queasiness. It’s really weird. And kinda sad considering the word simply means “the Gospel of Jesus Christ”. You’d think that something as important as the Gospel would go down easy. Well, not necessarily. John had a similar thing happen:
Exiled to the island of Patmos off the coast of Asia Minor, John the beloved disciple received the message of Revelation there. He must have been in his nineties. In chapter ten, he sees “a mighty angel come down” (verse 1) with a little book. John asks the angel to give the book to him and the angel complies but tells him to “take it and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but” he says “it shall be in thy mouth as sweet as honey.” (verse 9, emphasis mine) So, I guess it does go down smooth, but maybe there’s something there that conflicts with our constitution. And could cause us to have an upset stomach.
. Kerygma. Kerygma. Ew…
“How sweet are Thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103)
There’s a method of teaching language—a second language—that some teachers employ called “Total Physical Response”. It essentially means using the whole body as a means of conveying, not just a spoken command, but an accompanying action to the instruction. While it’s not universally recognized among educators, it has worked well in many classrooms. Dr. James Asher developed the process in the late sixties and it’s been gaining popularity ever since.
God is all about getting us back to a hundred percent. It isn’t just about tasting God, it’s about consuming Him, and in turn being consumed by Him. If the word of God, the Gospel of Jesus—in whole or part—doesn’t sit well with you, then continue to press on. “Commune with your own heart upon your bed and be still” (Psalm 4:4—deep personal reflection). Tell God the things about His word that make no sense to you and (figuratively) make you sick to your stomach. But don’t give up. That’s the principal thing. Don’t stop believing that God loves you enough to give you answers to your questions.
“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” (3 John 1:2)
“And I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23)
All of this points to our response to what God has already initiated. His action that calls for our “total physical (and spiritual, and mental) response”. God set the table and all we have to do is show up (not throw up). “That ye present your bodies a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1) And instead of swallowing your pride, spit it out and then “taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8)