Bitter Herbs

Do you remember when you first learned to swallow whole pills instead of having them smashed up and mixed in with your applesauce or some other squishy food? Wasn’t it traumatic to stick a giant pill on the back of your tongue and trust that you wouldn’t choke when you tried washing it down?

I remember when my daughters said goodbye to tasty, bubble gum flavored amoxicillin and started taking their medicine the grown-up way. They had to push the pill back far enough so that it wouldn’t swirl around their mouth causing them to taste it, but not so far back that it would make them gag. In the early days of grown-up pill swallowing, it usually took several attempts before they could get the nasty pills or vitamins down.

How many bitter pills have you swallowed in your life? How many bitter cups have you drunk from?

There is a fascinating Scripture in Exodus 12:8 where God tells His people to eat the Passover lamb (symbolic of Jesus) “along with bitter herbs”. In that Old Testament practice, there is New Testament truth: The only way to survive the bitter herbs is to eat them with the lamb.

Psalm 71:20 says, “Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.” Throughout our lives, we will all see troubles “many and bitter.” I hope we are also able to say, “But I have also eaten the lamb. Every time the bitterness touched my lips I reached for Jesus. And that has made all the difference.”

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