Everyone loves a good dinner party. Even if you’re an introvert (which I am!), sitting down together with the people you love and feel most intimately connected with is a thing to look forward to. Surely we could all use more of these kinds of moments in our lives!
Today’s praise challenge is all about responding to God’s dinner invitation! Did you know that, especially in the difficult times of our lives, He is busy setting a table so that we can come and sit with Him, forgetting about our troubles as we enjoy the sweetness of His presence? Those troubles might still be there when we go home, but the beautiful thing about God is that He goes home with us. And that, once we’ve sat down in His presence and celebrated with Him for a while, we are better equipped to face whatever we must return to.
In Psalm 23, Scripture leads us into the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Ugh. I’ve set up camp there in certain seasons! And yet, it is in the midst of this dark valley, full of enemies and threats of war, where the Good Shepherd not only leads us through, but invites us to stop and rest.
Rest, you say, in the middle of a valley full of death and darkness?! We feel like that in our lives sometimes, don’t we? Like there is no time for rest while we are facing such painful messes, fighting through such fierce conflicts – even if they be only within our hearts.
Yet, still the invitation comes.
“Will you come aside with Me?” He asks. “Could you spare just a little time, so I can offer you some refreshment? Can I renew your strength?”
Yes, it is precisely in our most difficult times that our God invites us to come aside and rest with Him awhile. He sets a table for us, which is a picture of intimate communion. A scene set for connection and for deep enjoyment. In the very presence of looming enemies, God is not worried about a thing. He only wants to be with you, to get your gaze off of the mess and onto Him, Who has everything under perfect control.
If you’ve never accepted an invitation like this – if you’ve always excused yourself with the reality that you’ve got too much going on to take time for rest and enjoyment – maybe today is a good day to say yes!
You’ll never know how powerful and liberating such a time out can be until you try! The invitation is open and waiting…So the next time you feel overwhelmed, why not respond by saying, “Yes, God, I will come aside and sit down with you for a while. I will trust that You will take care of this mess while I set my heart to feast on Your company, and be refreshed by Your presence.”
Ah, may our souls be strengthened at the table of the Lord today! Yes, even in the middle of the Valley of the Shadow of Death. For we must remember that they are only shadows, and that the Light of the World overwhelms all the darkness hidden within them. And He is gently leading us through.
Rest in Him today. Praise Him by accepting His invitation to come aside and rest awhile. He will deal with everything pressing in on you, and your faith will be strengthened in the process!