Growing up, I remember always watching Veggie Tales. The often absurd reiteration of biblical stories and narratives captured my young mind. Growing older and getting more life experience under my belt, I began to dislike the catchy songs and cheerful characters. Feeling as though the stories were portrayed with false optimism, I was left with the after taste of kale in my mouth. However, this post isn’t to rant about Veggie Tales. I think they provide a great medium to introduce children to Christianity and maybe even vegetables. Rather, I want to discuss what Christianity and vegetables have in common.
No child really enjoys eating vegetables and if they say they do, surely they are up to no good. Somehow parents figure out ways to get their kids to like them. For me it was the idea that broccoli were miniature trees and eating them meant I was a giant like Paul Bunyan. Other times I enjoyed pretending the asparagus were villains and eating them meant I was defeating evil and saving the world. Either way, there was always a trick to get me to eat vegetables and once the trick got old I realized broccoli doesn’t taste as good as ice cream. This was exactly how my experience with Christianity in college started.
Upon first embracing my faith in college and actively seeking truth, I thought if I just prayed and trusted God, everything in my life would work out. Things began to not work out, “What’s going on here God, this isn’t the deal we made”. I failed to realize that when we hand our lives over to God, things begin to work out how He wants them and not how we want them. God gives us what we need, not necessarily what we want. This is probably why God never gave me a ninja turtle Halloween costume despite praying for one every year in grade school.
Just like my child self, I began to realize that broccoli aren’t miniature trees and they really don’t taste that great. However, Broccoli is good for me and if I only eat ice cream I will eventually get sick. Christianity is so much more than a pretend story we tell ourselves to get us to do the right thing. Following Christ means we pick up our cross and embrace suffering, even to the crucifixion. We do this because we believe in the resurrection. Looking to the lives of saints and martyrs we realize this is the true Christian way, the narrow path.
Secularism provides the ice cream and sweets; it may taste good now but we will become sick and unhealthy if we think it is real food. Christ provides real food, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life”, that will feed us into eternity. This is what we are hungry for, substance, not just a sweet tooth craving and a fix. Following Jesus means we will have trials and it will not always taste good, but we must learn to trust our Heavenly Parent; “Christian Vegetables” actually do make a healthy soul.