One when I was very young my father tried to convince me of the glories of shredded wheat. It comes in biscuits roughly three inches by five and about an inch and a half thick; a biscuit of interlaced crisp strands of shredded wheat. The glories being that the biscuit hold a fair amount of milk.
“You can eat it hot or cold,” said he, pouring hot water on the two biscuits in my bowl. Then he poured the water off again leaving two sodden and almost tasteless biscuits in the bottom of the bowl. To a child it was not delicious. In fact it was almost, but not quite, repulsive, and with a little sugar on the top I could choke it down.
Many mornings now as an older well-seasoned child, who has reached his seniority, I put two biscuits of shredded wheat in my bowl. I pour milk over the biscuits and a little raw sugar. I savor the crispy and crunchy texture and the mild but pleasant flavor. I still don’t like it hot and sodden. That reminds me of an old product called Red River Cereal which tasted for all the world like hot bird seed. Some things one can’t get used to.
Shredded wheat was like my father’s faith. As a child I thought it was tasteless, dry and crunchy. But I was wrong. It was I who was tasteless dry and crunchy. At the beginning of the Narnia Tales C. S. Lewis points out the problem. In his dedication to Lucy Barfield he writes,
I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it.
We either have to be young enough or old enough to enjoy the faith of our fathers. There is often an in between stage, a spiritual adolescence, when we think that we know everything and are too sophisticated to appreciate the fact that “Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again.” Some people never become old enough to appreciate the wonders of a childlike faith. Sad to say, they never discover that the stories, after all, are true and that it is for them that Christ has died and risen.
For others incredible joy arises in their hearts when they discover that God actually loves them, and that it is all true, and it is not a myth. And that joy far excels the rediscovery of shredded wheat.