I was standing in line at the deli meat counter at my grocery store, just minding my own business. Glancing around, I noticed something new was on sale that week: peppereno-garlic ham. I’m a sucker for spicy food; I thought I’d give it a try.
I asked the counterperson for a sample. She handed me a thin slice, as innocently as if it were birthday cake for a 3-year-old. I took a bite.
“Whooooooooaaaaaaa, baby!”, I exclaimed.
I must have exclaimed rather loudly. People turned to look in my direction. The customer next to me giggled. I heard someone say, “Your skin is changing color!” At least, I think they were talking to me… my eyes watered so much I couldn’t see clearly. I heard a faint ringing in my ears, not entirely unpleasant. And then… I felt the heat. Right before I passed out.
I’m kidding; I didn’t really pass out. I was, however, overcome with desire to find something cool to drink. My lips were burning, my nose was running, and I had a flash of a vision: me, laid out flat in front of the sliced cheese selection, still holding my peppereno-garlic ham sample.
I managed to regain my composure after a minute or so, wiped my eyes, saw that the counterperson was patiently smiling at me. I said the first thing that came to mind:
“I’ll take a pound of that, please!”
There were more people smiling (and giggling) around me. But I was not going to be deterred by peer pressure, no sir. I discreetly blew my nose, wiped my eyes again, and started looking around for lip balm. Seems to me that an establishment that generously hands over free samples of edible fire should have lip balm nearby. And maybe a service dog to lead you to your car.
When the counterperson handed over the pound of infernal pork, I jokingly suggested this stuff should come with a free fire extinguisher. More giggling. I may not be good for much but self-deprecating comic relief is right up my alley.
In all my years going to that grocery store, I have never attracted as much attention as I did that day. As I walked out of the store (with the lunchmeat triple-bagged, in case it ate through plastic), I considered how unusual these kinds of situations are for me. And then I wondered how common they should be.
See, I’ve exclaimed a bit loudly before. But not about lunchmeat. I have been known to exclaim how good my God is, how merciful, how loving, how gentle and kind. I’ve caught myself, right in the middle of describing some wonderful God thing, noticing I was talking a little louder, a little faster, a little bolder than I usually do.
And that’s when it occurred to me: in all my years, I’ve never heard anyone exclaim in church,
“Whooooooooaaaaaaa, baby! God is good!!”
Maybe it’s about time I started.
“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!” Psalm 34:8 ESV