Cynicism is a shield. Hope is a hammer.

This is a verse I started carrying in my pocket last week.

Psalm Verse

Here are a few things I think about it.

1. “Taste,” seems like an invitation or a dare. I dare you to try. I dare you to believe for just a second. To not get wrapped up in every bad experience you’ve had with fake Christians or mean churches or any of the clutter that can accompany Christianity. Just taste.

2. “see that the Lord is good,” is one of the hardest things for me to believe sometimes. In my head I know it. I believe he is good, but there are days when I struggle to accept that. To rest in that, to let my guard down and be still in that. I think I’m often afraid that to believe he is good is to be too vulnerable. Cynicism is a shield. Hope is a hammer because it means knocking down the walls you built up to protect yourself from life’s disappointments.

3. “blessed in the one who takes refuge in him,” I like what this doesn’t say. It doesn’t read, “blessed is the one who fixes himself.” It doesn’t say, “blessed is the one with a life so perfect they don’t need refuge.” It says “blessed is the one who takes refuge in him,” as in, “You’re going to need refuge. Life is going to have situations that require you to take refuge, the need for refuge is not failure, it is reality. But be blessed, for there is a place to go.”

That’s what I read in this verse.

What do you read?

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  1. says

    This was my favorite verse to read when we would do Passover celebrations, and all the food involved. The idea of “taste” makes me think how we experience and know God with ALL of us, all of our senses.

  2. says

    Perfect words for today. Thanks, Jon. This is gong in my pocket too. Or at least on my wall. (If it was in my pocket, it would go through the laundry and become that unidentifiable little blob you know used to be important. Beware. Or ask Jenny to start checking your pockets.)

  3. says

    I have a friend that this verse would benefit but I’m afraid her heart is so hard, she may not receive it. So then, I must take refuge in Him to work on her and for Him to guide me in sharing/showing His love to her.

  4. Debbie Davis says

    “Cynicism is a shield, Hope is a Hammer”. That is VERY profound!
    From my most “Born Again” Christian family and friends, to my most ardent Atheist family and friends, I see my loved ones using cynicism as a shield against vulnerability. It takes a great deal of time and trust to figure out safe spaces in which you can be vulnerable without wearing that shield.

  5. Julia says

    That you have to experience it for yourself, not ride on the coattails of someone else experience. I can describe to you how awesome Chik-Fil-A sauce is. I can go into intrinsic detail. But unless you taste it for yourself… You’ll never understand…


  6. Grace says

    Yes. You will definitely need refuge through some of life’s storms. Be sure to make HIM your refuge; not your spouse, not your parents, not your bank account, not alcohol, drugs, possessions, or even queso. ;) Just the Lord. Thanks for this, Jon.

  7. Tamarah says

    I loved what you said about hope being a hammer!

    Hope is a hammer that breaks down my walls. He picks me up when my spirit falls. When all around me is turbulent seas, He is my dry land. He is my protection, my safe place to stand!

  8. Debie Pasich says

    Each person is true to faith in their own way. Cynicism and doubt are two different things. The hammer is the heart…there is no greater power in the Universe than love. Nothing can ever defeat it for God (the Trinity) IS love. You’re right Jon…we do have a place to go and we never have to worry about that. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He wants us to be happy and have fun. He wants us to come Him and give Him our sin (mistakes) so that He can love us and forgive us. His door is always open, not just sometimes but eternally open to ALL who believe in Him. Life is hard and jacked-up sometimes, what a comfort it is that He understands that and we have Him anyway. We have a place to go and accepting arms to hold us all. How cool is that?

  9. says

    My favorite. “Taste and see…” I read that we can experience God, interact and engage, not just read about or follow rules from God. And that experience will open your eyes to Him. It’s not an achievement or a passed test. It’s the receiving that brings you joy and fulfillment, like the best gourmet meal that offers way more than just sustenance.

  10. Hannah says

    I agree, awesome work as usual Pandosto Sleightholm!

    i read:

    1. I want to taste the Lord not times like my only wearable jeans I bought being made fun of by the Pastor’s son, my Youth Pastor

    2. see that He’s good even if it is at follow through with the unpleasant parts of the Bible :)

  11. says

    Why the sense taste? Because taste involves participation. Taste involves taking the initiative. Taste involves risk. Taste involves our decision. Taste, is a choice. Of all the five senses, taste is one of which we can choose whether to use it or not. We see all the time. Our eyes are always open, and we can’t control the things we see. Yes, we can choose to close our eyes but we always see before we choose not to see. The same goes to smell. Especially those unpleasant ones. Eww. We pinch our nose to those unpleasant smell. Hearing. Worse still, sometimes as much as we try to cover our ears, we can’t totally put the noise off. And touch. We touch all the time. Sitting on the chair. Holding a pen. Standing on the floor. In fact we can’t never choose not to touch unless there’s no gravity or falling off from a higher ground naked (cause if we’re wearing something, the clothes are touching our skin too)! All these senses, are which we could not control to a certain limit. But not taste. We don’t taste all the time. We only taste, when we choose to put something into our mouth, on our lips and when it melts (either by our saliva or water). We taste because we choose to taste. Unlike sight, touch, hearing and smell where a certain level of force was implied, taste don’t. Taste, is purely our decision, whether to use it or not. To experience taste, we need to decide to do so.

    And thus the obvious selection, taste. To know the goodness of God, to experience the goodness of God, to savour the goodness of God, we need to, choose to let God do so. And when we truly let God to do so, when we say “Yes Lord, show Yourself to me”, when we decide to experience God, then will we know that God, is indeed good. Just like to know whether a meal is delicious, we need to taste it. And to know that God is good, we need to taste Him. We need to choose to taste Him. Taste, and see that The Lord is indeed good.

    • Hannah says

      I once had a student who became a friend who gave gave me highly treasured jars of clay, this first paragraph sounds very much like her. :)

  12. says

    Great imagery and a great point!
    A friend has wrapped herself in cynicism because of a “bad” church experience, and says she’ll never go back to church again!
    I pray she will smash through her wall with your hammer of hope!

  13. Julia says

    Got a scary diagnosis – a rare disease. Thanks for reminding me of the one true place in which my refuge – peace, contentment, security – awaits. (And of the power of the humble index card.)

  14. says

    This verse has been simmering in my heart all summer!

    And I’m awake before the birds begin to sing because this is the first day of the new school year (kindergarten teacher :-)). Thanks for showing me new things upon which to meditate with this verse!


  1. […] This article from Jon Acuff is just an encouraging read. He shares a verse that recently impacted him, and sort of dissects it to helpfully apply it to his life and really considers what this verse actually means. Whether or not the article encourages you, I think it is helpful to take his strategy for dissecting verses. With this method of reading the Bible it becomes much more likely that the verse will stick with us throughout the day, and it will make it easier to memorize. That way, when the Enemy comes to attack, we will be ready with our hearts and minds full of Scripture. […]

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