The Family Table
In my growing up years, being pouty and not eating dinner with the family was not an option. One day, I was angry because I didn’t get my way. When mom called us to dinner I said I wasn’t hungry and refused to come. And then there was my father’s response, “You don’t have to eat but you will be at the table with the rest of the family.” So my 8 year old self sat there with a scowl and arms tightly crossed. I refused to utter one word (as if that would teach them!) let alone take a bite of food.
I remember hearing about a woman’s life story after her husband was not cured of a brain tumor. She and her husband were confident God was going to answer their prayers and heal him. After all, many were praying on his behalf, even around the globe! Understandably so, the disappointment was devastating when the wife and her three small children where left alone in this big world.
Months later the new widow said, “I still pray but I don’t ask God for anything anymore.”
In my mind’s eye, I instantly saw the new widow as that little girl. Yes she is still sitting at the family table but her arms are crossed and her words are few.
Then I thought, “What have I stopped asking God for? What have I stopped talking to Him about for fear I will only be disappointed? How shallow is that? I only talk to Him because I get what I want?”
Don’t we all, at one time or another become that pouty, scowling little girl? Our pursed lips and tightly crossed arms lead to missing out on close fellowship with The Father. We can become so guarded that we deny ourselves from family interactions with our siblings. We miss out on so much joy, laughter, conversation, crying together or even the family comfort and safety of battling it out when we don’t agree. Or we refuse to eat and read our Bible. We grow weak and become easy prey for the enemy. And sometimes we do refuse to come to the table and go to church.
The whole family experience is compromised because of our jaded hearts.
Because of Jesus, my place in God’s family can never be threatened or taken away. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus or Lord.” Romans 8:38, 39
But the level of intimacy can be compromised. The longer we stay distant the wider the gap. I challenge you to be brave and ask The Father to tend to your wounded heart and renew your hope. (The word renew means to mend something that was interrupted.) Denial of such privileged companionship leads to despair.
I beg of you to uncross your arms, drop your pride and reach out. As a parent it is always a gift when my young adult children share their wounded hearts with me. And unspeakable joy fills a parent’s heart when their kids come to the table. There is nothing like sharing a meal. You not only belong but are deeply wanted at the family table!