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3rd January 2023

Sweet and Bitter

Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.

Proverbs 16:24

Some people like bitter chocolate and some prefer sweet. Ancient Mayans in Central America enjoyed chocolate as a beverage and seasoned it with chilli peppers. They liked this “bitter water,” as they called it. Many years later it was introduced in Spain, but the Spaniards preferred chocolate sweet, so they added sugar and honey to counteract its natural bitterness.

Like chocolate, our days can be bitter or sweet too. The Reformer John Calvin wrote, “If we knew how much God loves us, we would always be ready to receive equally from His hand the sweet and the bitter.” Accept the sweet and the bitter equally? That is difficult! However, the key to what John Calvin is talking about lies in God’s character. The psalmist said of God, “You are good, and what you do is good” (Psalm 119:68).

Mayans also valued bitter chocolate for its healing and medicinal properties. Bitter days have value too. They make us aware of our weaknesses, and they help us depend more on God. The psalmist wrote, “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn Your statutes ” (v 71). Let us embrace life today, with all its different flavours, and reassured of God’s goodness. Let us say, “You have done many good things for me, Lord, just as you promised


Psalm 119: 65-72.


Father, help me to see Your goodness even in times of bitter trouble. Amen.



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