Recently one of our high school kids moved back to the area after several years of hopping around the country living in various family situations. We haven’t seen or heard much from him, but we were in touch right before his birthday and so made plans to have him over for dinner.
On the day of his birthday, I dropped all my other plans and went to the store to buy special food for his birthday dinner. I drove all over town looking for a gift that I thought he would enjoy. I spent all afternoon cooking a special dinner and baking just the kind of cake he had requested. As the hour of our dinner approached, I got out a fresh tablecloth, set the table with our special celebration plate of honor and frosted and decorated his cake. Everything sat in readiness to celebrate our boy. We wanted him to know that we have missed him, that he was welcome, that we love him and in spite of time and distance and whatever else his life has held over the past few years, he has a place of belonging with us. We waited with anticipation, but he never arrived.
In younger days, I may have felt frustrated that I spent an entire day preparing something special for someone who never showed up. But on this day, I just felt sad for my precious boy—sad that he had missed the love and welcome and celebration that were awaiting him. Over the next hours and days as I held this in my heart, God reminded me of the words of Psalm 23, “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies. My cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
In my heart, the following question arose. “How many times have you missed the banquet table I have prepared for you?” Each and every day of life, God has prepared a table of goodness and mercy for us, but we often fail to pull up a chair to enjoy what God has for us. Busyness, fear, worry, preoccupation, chasing other things, seeing with the eyes of the world…So very many things can cause us to lose awareness of God’s presence and the table prepared for us.
I trust that love is never wasted and I keep sending gentle messages to my boy out there reminding him that he belongs to Jesus and to us and inviting him to stop on by. Please join with me in the prayers that he would turn towards the love of God that waits for him. May you also be given the grace to turn and embrace the table that waits for you today.
We appreciate your prayers and support as we minister the grace and love of Jesus Christ here in the city of Minneapolis.