Sour Patch Kids

  • Randy Karlberg
gummy bears

My children love Sour Patch Kids.  I have never really understood the passion for this sugar-infested treat.  But I have witnessed large bags of Sour Patch Kids decimated in just a few moments.  If you have not been so privileged to be introduced to this learned indulgence, it is an incredibly tart chewable encasing several layers of pure cane sugar.  The only reason I can surmise that someone would submit themselves to this type of consumptive abuse is the sweet reward of the sugar after enduring the mouth puckering tartness.  Alas, someone has figured out a way to make money on this self-maltreatment.

But could there be a spiritual lesson to be learned from the Sour Patch Kids statute?  It may be a stretch, but when using candy as an illustration, some liberties can be taken.  The lesson we should learn from Sour Patch Kids is that we are not to be looking for heaven here on earth.  There are sweet things to enjoy on this earth, but in the words of 1970’s Christian Rock Theologian Larry Norman, “This world is not my home.  I’m just pass-in’ through.”  When we are so enamored with the current world situation, whether ease of life or status and reputation, we are not fully grasping the lessons that God has for us to learn.  Does God provide for His children as a loving father provides?  Yes, the Bible tells us He does, but the Bible also tells us that a father who will not discipline his children is not loving them.  As a matter of fact Proverbs 13:24 says,

“Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.” (Proverbs 13:24)

The word “hate” is awfully strong language!  We need to read that and process it as it was intended when parenting our children.

God is not interested in having His children grow up in a world without pain or want because sin has wreaked havoc in this world.  The wonderful things of this world should not be a substitute or satisfy the longing of eternity with God.  We are regularly too focused on the world and the pleasures of it than having an eternal focus on things that really matter.  Jesus gives us His perspective on this in John 16:33,

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation.  But take heart: I have overcome the world.” (John 16:3)

Our focus needs to be on Jesus Christ and not on worldly comfort.

People in Jesus’ day felt that if you obeyed God, He would keep bad things from happening to you.  In Luke 13:4-5 Jesus rebuffs this thinking.

“Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem?  No, I tell you: but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:4-5)

God does give His children good gifts, but sometimes He causes hard things to happen to help bring an eternal focus.  That is why Christian parents who have a child die can say they would not change the incident due to the eternal focus and intense personal relationship with God that has resulted.

Luke 17 speaks to when Jesus had ten lepers come up to Him and ask to be healed!  They asked Jesus to have mercy on them which He did.  He told them to go and show themselves to the priests to be declared “clean.”  Scripture tells us, “As they went they were cleansed.”  They were all beyond excited to literally have their life back!  They quickly went and did as they were told.  However, that is not the whole story.  We pick it up in verse 15.

“Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving Him thanks.  Now he was a Samaritan.  Then Jesus answered, ‘were not ten cleansed?  Where are the nine?  Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’  And He (Jesus) said to him, ‘Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.’” (Luke 17:15-19)

Jesus points out to the crowd the difference between the two responses of the lepers.  The nine focused only on their current situation and did not have the same understanding of their healing.  They just saw their physical problem solved and were excited to get on with life.  The only one who realized the magnitude of what happened was the Samaritan.  Samaritans were the people who were not supposed to have the correct understanding regarding God and the Scriptures.  Yet the Samaritan is found to be the only one who is focused on where his blessing comes from.  The thankfulness and worship he gives to Jesus is clearly realized.  It is to him that Jesus states, “your faith has made you well.”  Do not miss the eternal perspective that this man receives because he focused on from whom his blessings came.

For each of us, it is a mistake to revel in the comforts and blessings of this current life without acknowledging and loving the giver of all things.  It is a mistake to complain and grumble regarding difficult situations God has brought in our lives.  This goes against everything that we understand, as we naturally feel if we are “good Christians” God will do nothing but bless us.  This sometimes is even used to try and talk non-believers into becoming Christians, but maybe we can learn something from Sour Patch Kids.  The bitterness of this life should be lived out with the hope and promise of eternal life with our Heavenly Father.

Somehow this thought helps me to place more trust in the Lord as I navigate each day.