Kingdom Living

Banquet at The Father’s House

My most favorite memories are those around the holidays. Every gathering with beloved friends and family lights me up inside. Yes, there are some sad memories around this time, but the sweetness of good “old” memories and being surrounded by people I love overrides the bitterness of sorrow. I started imagining what a holiday gathering might be like at The Father’s house.


“Is there anything I can help with?” I ask The Father. He is making all the final preparations for our feast and there are lots of other people there helping as well.

The Father welcomes me in and gives me a big hug before inviting me to participate with Him in preparing for the feast (kids always want to help).

You can help set the table, daughter.” He gives me a purpose, and points me to the gold and silver dishes and utensils we will be using for our feast. 

I finish setting the table just in time for the food to start coming out. Finally, the table is fully set and the food is bountiful. There isn’t a single favorite missing! Turkey, ham, lamb, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and mashed, green bean casserole, casseroles of every kind, corn (we need a reminder), bread, even homemade cranberry sauce (don’t judge – my Grandma had the best recipe and I loved it!), and the list goes on! Drinks have been poured. We’re all ready to dive in.

The banquet room is warmly lit. Not from a fire, but by the glory radiating from The Father. The room is intimate, but big enough to hold all the people I know and love and the people they know and love and so on. Dimensions are a weird thing at The Father’s house.

The head of the table comes to His seat – Jesus. Looking at The Father, Jesus expresses His thanks for the feast we are salivating over and then proceeds to carve the turkey. He serves each person Himself before sitting down to begin eating from His own plate.

Conversations around the table are sweet and the food unimaginably good. I stop for a minute to listen – it sounds like the whole room is singing. Though all the conversations are different, the song that is being made from it all sounds melodious! It’s not overwhelmingly loud either because no one has to yell to be heard. I realize I’ve been smiling since I got to The Father’s house. I pause for a moment to take it all in. The glow of the room. The beautiful decor. The “background music” from the humming conversations. And all these wonderful people. I look over and see The Father looking at me with a smile on His face.

All of this is for you, my beloved one. I am glad you came to sit and fellowship with me. I love watching you enjoy all that I have provided.

My heart is full (and my stomach too). 

But it’s time for desert and coffee! Not sure how I could fit more into my stomach, but this is one of the best times of fellowship.  I pull the comfy chair up next to Jesus who is sitting by The Father. Coffee steaming on the end table, dessert in hand, we talk for hours. I listen again to old stories I know, but there is always something new The Father tells me in those stories. Jesus patiently listens as I pour out my heart. I tell Him everything on my mind but nothing phases Him. He listens intently as if He didn’t already know all these things I’m talking about. And when I finally give Him space to speak, His voice and instruction are gentle and loving. I always learn so much from Him.

I’m grateful to be sitting right here, right now. There’s nothing better than feast-day at The Father’s house. I don’t want to say good-bye or good-night. I want to hold on to this beautiful thought. The Father reminds me that there are even more wonderful things, things beyond my imagination, in store for me in eternity.


This small imagination of mine surely pales in comparison to what it will really be like when we finally get to feast at the banquet table in Heaven. Would you sit for a moment and imagine with me? What does your perfect feast have that mine doesn’t? Who is at the table with you? One thing is certain, God The Father, and Jesus His Son will be there welcoming us with open arms and it will always be the best feast ever.

 

And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the Lord; I have spoken. And I will make them and the places all around my hill a blessing, and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing. And the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase, and they shall be secure in their land.
– Ezekiel 34:23-24,26-27

Conversations

Library Card

“Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.”
– Isaiah 40:28

 

Just for kicks I decided to do a Google search for “knowledge” – 1,330,000,000 results returned! I can’t even conceive that many things about “knowledge”! And each one of those results was put together by human beings so no doubt there are many things repeated. This verse made me stop to think about how vast God’s knowledge is. God’s knowledge though, has no duplicates, no repeats, but still extends far beyond our capacity to comprehend. It is overwhelming to think about how every good leadership principle, parenting principle, academic subject, self-help book, etc. comes from God’s vast knowledge.

I imagine a huge library, the end of which I can’t see, wall-to-wall and floor to ceiling, cathedral heights of nothing but books. It reminds me of a well-known animated movie where the main female character of the story is surprised as she enters a library in a castle where books are wrapped all around the walls and went from floor to ceiling. The library of God’s understanding and knowledge stretches even bigger than this!

I imagine taking one of the books off the shelf and look at the title: “How to Forgive”, author: God. Jogging down the row of books in front of me, finger tips grazing each book as I run, I pick a random book from the shelf where I stop and I read the title “Connected: Curing the Pandemic of Everyone Feeling Alone Together“, writer: Erin Davis, author: God, research conducted by: Erin Davis & God. Even the good books that we have written, have God’s knowledge and understanding all through them.

ancient-antique-architectural-design-442420

As I look up and down the vast array of books, I begin to feel small, but I’m realizing that just means that I will have plenty to keep me busy when I get to heaven! And in fact, rather than feeling overwhelmed, I have a sense of peace. I am getting a glimpse that first of all, there are answers to all of my questions. I may not know what those answers all are, and there will be books in here that I may not ever understand (like why does traffic have to be a thing, especially when I want to get home), but all of that is ok because what’s really important is that there are answers, and He knows them all.

How do I deal with a stubborn kid? “I’m glad you asked me” God says. “I have lots of material on that subject! We will find a few examples from your life in here, Sarah. But don’t worry, I’ve got another book that should help you understand the mercy and grace I’ve given you to be able to handle that stuff.” He says with a gentle smile and a quick wink to reassure me He’s not holding any of my stubbornness against me.

What do I do about my body and mind going haywire, especially the older I get? “Ah!” He exclaims. “There is some really great stuff over here, I’ve even got diagrams and molecular structures drawn out so you can see exactly how I fit your body together. There is a full book just about your body, Sarah, because it is completely unique. In fact, I have a book on every single person I’ve ever created. The DNA part you won’t be able to read on your own, but I can help you past all of that to get to just what you need to answer your questions.”

Why is there evil and hurt in the world? He pauses. His face turns a bit softer and more sad. “I’m afraid there are some very hard things to understand about the answers to that and I don’t think you’re going to be able to handle it, little one.” Kneeling down and putting his hands on my arms, looking at me on my eye-level He says, “Can you be ok for now just knowing that I understand these things, and that I love you so much that I am doing everything to do what is best for you? There are going to be some questions you will have, like this one, that I won’t be able to teach you all about because you won’t be able to understand them. But its ok, because I do. Can you trust me to understand and only give you what I know you can handle understanding? I know its very hard, especially for you, little one – you are very inquisitive and you love to help. Know that I love you and everyone that I have created, and my presence in the middle of those times of hurting is evidence of my love.”

I nod my head solemnly indicating I understand. It is hard not knowing everything, but as I walk over to the big sofa by the window to sit and read with Him, I’m ok with not knowing.

I know that He knows.

I know He’s got it all under control.

And right now, I have a pile of books to focus on (like building leadership potential, & raising kids of godly character, & being the best wife just for starters). These are going to take me some time to get through, and there are so many more after that!

“Daddy, will you help me understand this one?” I ask as I hold up a book He wrote called “How to Boldly Pursue God’s Dream for You”

“Of course! I taught Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Peter, even Paul who you might not think had to learn how to be bold in a way that glorifies me – that’s a surprise chapter for a lot of folks. I’ve taught a lot of my kids this one. I would be happy to teach you too, little one. Let’s read it together.”

Smiling, I hand the book to Him and curl up next to him on the sofa by the window as His strong voice begins to read and carefully explain how examples in my life fit together with His Words on the page.

Conversations

Daddy’s Help

Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up. – Psalm 68:19

Another version of scripture says “who daily bears our burdens”. What a great picture of the Father. He doesn’t just know about our burdens and worries, He doesn’t just wait to hear about our troubles and He doesn’t sit around doing nothing until we cast our cares on Him. He actually already carries us and our burdens.

As I was thinking about these things, an image came to mind…

holding_handsThe Father and I were walking along together. He was carrying quite a heavy load – all of the things on His back were mine. And as all good fathers do, He was helping me along, carrying me over the distances when my feet got tired, telling me what to watch out for along the path so that I didn’t get hurt, and holding my hand to steady me. This is a very long journey we are on together and as I started to grow and recognize for myself the dangerous areas and I was able to walk a little more on my own, I started to recognize the things He was carrying.

“Here Daddy,” I said “let me carry some.” He looked down at me with a loving concern on His face and began to explain “They are heavy, Little One.”

“But, Daddy, I can do it. See how I’ve gotten better at walking by myself and I’m stronger than I used to be; besides, those are my burdens to carry. Shouldn’t I be carrying them and learning to be like you, Daddy?”

The Father tenderly, knowingly responds without a single word. He sets the pack down and carefully selects only one or two items out of the pack. Turning toward me I saw a look of great love and the concern a good father has for his child, knowing she is choosing the hard way but understanding that she will not understand his help or his great love for her, unless he allows it. Was that a tear I saw run down His face? He places the select few burdens on my back. “Wow. These are heavier than they looked on The Father’s back.” I think to myself.

The Father lifts back up His very heavy pack and we continue on walking together. The Father, as any good one does, repeatedly checks on me, looking to see if I’m ok and asking me if I need help. He returns to pointing out the dangerous parts along the way, and extending His hand to help me over the rocky places. My response is quietly continuing along without asking for and rarely accepting His outstretched hand.

After walking for quite a while over difficult terrain, I fall. This pack is so heavy! But The Father makes it look so easy! I have scrapes all over me and I’m so tired carrying these heavy burdens. I start crying and I call out “Daddy! Wait!” The Father turns and immediately returns to my side, still effortlessly carrying that huge load. He has scrapes and bruises too, in the exact same spots as me! But He’s not out of breath, He’s not tired.

Knowing full well what I’m going through and seeing how worn out I am from all of this, He still asks me, with compassion in His voice, “What’s wrong, my child?” Fighting to not break down sobbing due to the pain, fatigue, and disappointment in myself for not being able to do this, I respond “This burden – its too heavy. You were right, Daddy, I need your help.”

The Father kneels down beside me and speaking tenderly, with another tear running down His face, He asks if I really want His help. He reminds me that it was me that wanted to try to do all of this on my own and that He had been there all along the way, ready to help. There was no condemnation in His tone, just a concerned Father, just as concerned about the lesson I would learn as the scrapes and bruises I had everywhere. As He gently wiped away the dirt and blood stains and tenderly wiped my tear-stained face, He reminds me “You don’t have to be like me, Little One. Yes, you are my child and in many ways you are like me, but there will always be things I can and should do that you will not be able to do. Like all of these burdens, I carry them for you because I love you. I want you to be able to walk freely and happily enjoy the journey home together with me.”

With the burdens secured back on The Father’s shoulders, with a bright smile and a hint of compassion, knowing what His child has been through and that this lesson will be repeated again, The Father smiles and hugs me as He stands back up. Holding out His hand I place mine in His and He lifts me to my feet.

We start back on our journey home together again. “Hey! Look at that amazing flower! And what a beautiful sky!” I remarked joyfully. I hadn’t noticed those things in such a long time. “Oh! And look, Daddy! Did you see that beautiful bird fly by?” The Father looks at me again with a smile, my hand in His “Enjoy it all, Little One.”