“Your mother won’t be coming home for a while.”
Those were words no ten-year-old can prepare to hear. Mom was going to be hospitalized indefinitely. My Dad was going to care for David, my four-year-old younger brother. But, being older, I could more easily adapt to a new environment, and so I was sent to Grandmother and Grandfather Lane’s for the summer. It was my first journey into the wilderness, emotionally speaking.
Granddaddy Lane was a salesman for Johns Manville and away traveling. And since it was summer, my grandmother decided we needed an adventure—just the two of us—so she suggested we go to the beach.
Granddaddy Lane had built my grandmother an oceanfront cottage on Long Beach (now Oak Island) thirteen years earlier. Hurricane Hazel had christened it, but it was still there, and it was just about my grandmother’s favorite place on earth. Mine too. The cottage’s name was “Sea Lane.” Just hearing her say the name brought joy to my heart.
I was a reticent child. Watching and listening was pretty much my specialty. I didn’t ask too many questions of adults, but I worried plenty, especially about Mom. And I talked to God. I spoke with Him in the one place I felt He always listened: on the sea-side deck at that beach cottage. I would sit, watching the ocean send its rhythmic breakers against the shore, and I could talk to Him in a way I never could kneeling by my bed or in church. My words and questions came naturally there. It was one of the reasons the beach cottage was one of my favorite places. Usually, the entire family occupied the cozy beach cottage. But for once, I had Sea Lane, and my grandmother, all to myself.
Making a trip to Jones Seafood, a now-legendary restaurant on Oak Island, was always a tradition when we went to the beach. However, in all the times I had been there, I had never had dessert. Restaurant desserts were just not something my parents did. But this time, it was just the two of us. When the waitress came around at the end of the meal, two pieces of delicious pie arrived with her. It was a tangy lemon custard with a saltine cracker crust and had sweet, whipped cream piled and swirled high. It tickled my young taste buds like nothing I had ever tasted. This was a taste of heaven. Manna, maybe, tasted like this.
It had been a topsy-turvy summer. I missed my dad and my little brother. Mom being hospitalized had turned my world upside down. Especially since no one was talking about Mom, except in whispers just out of my hearing. Naturally, my young imagination ran wild with the possibilities. But here, in this moment, God answered me . . . with a piece of pie. With my grandmother’s undivided attention and that taste of heaven on my tongue, I knew I was loved and cared for. Everything would be okay.
Mom came home before school started back at the end of summer. The family was whole again. But to this day, remembering the taste of that pie brings a sense of peace to my soul that can only be explained by the faithfulness and love of God. He gave me, a ten-year-old boy, manna in my wilderness.
God uses all our senses to speak to us, even taste. On that occasion, He used a piece of pie to comfort a troubled little boy—a wonderful taste of heaven.
In your wilderness, keep all your senses open for God’s answer and direction. It may come to your taste buds.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)