Taste is something I had taken for granted until recently when I lost my ability to taste and smell.

I love food. Not all food, though. Especially not the healthy stuff. I’d rather have things like chili dogs, hamburgers, french fries, onion rings, spaghetti and meatballs, ice cream, pizza, donuts—the list goes on.

My unhealthy diet caught up with me recently, though, and I ended up in the emergency room, diagnosed with esophagitis and gastritis. Before they released me, the doctors said I had to change my diet or else.

The new diet does not resemble any menu I’ve ever liked, so it’s been a challenge to consume these so-called healthy foods, but my significant weight loss should prove I’m sticking to it. On top of all that, I’ve suddenly been unable to taste or smell anything I try to eat.

My first thought when that happened was that I had contracted COVID-19, but when the test I took came back negative, I started searching the internet for other possible causes. One possibility suggested that the settings on the CPAP machine I use for sleep apnea might be incorrect. That could result in a dry mouth and affect my sense of taste and smell. (Believe me, getting old is not fun.) That wasn’t it, though, and I’m still searching for an answer. Frankly, staying upbeat has been difficult.

I will say, this malady has led me to rediscover Psalm 34:8, which tells us to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (NIV). It also promises joy and blessings for those who take refuge in Him.

I have to admit, for a while there, not only was I not eating physical food, I was also not consuming much spiritual food. I just didn’t feel like it. Instead, I was isolating myself at home, watching worthless television, and playing with my dog. I wasn’t praying, reading God’s Word, gathering with friends, or giving to others.

In his daily devotion book, Grace for the Moment, Max Lucado identifies those four actions—praying, reading God’s Word, gathering with friends, and giving to others—as daily habits that help us grow in our faith, no matter how complex or disappointing the season. These habits keep us close to God where we can taste His goodness and find the comfort and help we need.

When I finally started pushing past my emotions and practicing those habits again, I began rediscovering how good God is.

His Word, the “Bread of Life,” has been a tasty delicacy. Prayer has led me to enjoy the fragrance of His healing presence. Getting together with friends has again become an enjoyable event, and giving when needed most is a blessing that’s hard to describe.

Now, that’s food for thought.

Have you discovered these habits? Are you tasting the Lord and realizing His goodness for yourself? I know it isn’t always easy. Sometimes, we just don’t feel like taking a bite of God’s Word. But those are the times we need to push past our emotions and consume everything He has to offer.

You’ll never regret tasting God’s gifts. Psalm 34:10 says that those who seek God will lack no good thing.

Still, I can’t wait to enjoy a chili dog again and smell the coffee brewing!