The preeminent complaint I hear from anyone visiting from the old country is that nothing tastes the way it ought to, especially vegetables. Having lived on both continents, it is not an unwarranted complaint. One of the first things I do every time I fly back to Romania, especially if vegetables are in season, is go to the local farmer’s market, buy a handful of farm-grown tomatoes, some feta cheese, and have myself a one-person picnic on one of the rusty iron tables they provide for their customers.
I realize that part of it has to do with the nostalgia of it since this was something I used to do with my grandfather and little brothers some two decades ago when we first started going back to Romania, but the flavor profile of homegrown vegetables is undeniably different than that of industrialized farming.
It’s not that flavorful vegetables don’t exist in America, but you’d have to take out a second mortgage on your house to buy three tomatoes, half an organic chicken, and a handful of carrots. To paraphrase a young man trying to sell me apples for five dollars each at a local farmer’s market, ‘organic ain’t cheap.’
For the most part, people make do with rubbery tomatoes and flavorless carrots, rather than shell out their retirement savings for some vegetables, or bypass vegetables altogether for highly processed foodstuffs colored and made to look like tasty peas, carrots, and broccoli.
There is always an alternative if you are not willing to pay the price for the real thing, and that’s the thought that kept making its way to the forefront of my mind as I was heaping pepper and salt on a tomato that was less than savory to the taste recently.
Today’s generation doesn’t have the true manifestation of the power of God or the gifts of the Holy Spirit not because they do not exist. They do not have these things because they are unwilling to pay the cost to attain them. They find alternatives to true power because the alternatives are less costly to the flesh, less time consuming, and less exacting.
They are willing to make do with half measures, they are willing to feign satisfaction with some emotional exaltation, or a tingly feeling once in a while, but as far as pressing in, going deeper, surrendering more that more might be attained, the answer is always a firm no.
Deep down they understand that what they’ve settled for is not anywhere as good as the real thing, but in their minds, it’s better than nothing.
If my dissatisfaction with tasteless tomatoes becomes unbearable, I know I can put in the time, and build some raised beds, plant my own tomatoes, tend to them, and watch them grow, and when they are ripe eat them off the vine, but I’m not quite there yet. I’m still okay with using condiments to mask the lack of taste, and until I’m no longer okay with it, I will not put forth the effort necessary to change the dynamic.
The same goes for spiritual fullness, or the lack thereof. Until the lack of the presence and power of God become unbearable, men will do nothing to remedy it. As long as they can mask the absence of true power with exuberance, excessive animation, shaking, dancing, crawling, or jiggling, they will.
It is when that moment of desperation is reached and surpassed that all pretense is set aside, and we surrender, humble ourselves, and cry out for a true move of God, not for a day, not for a month, not for a season, but until it is made manifest.
If you are fed up with the unsavory, with the tasteless, the powerless, the visionless, it’s up to you to do what it takes to acquire the real. Substitutes will not suffice, and this is a truth more and more are waking up to every day.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.