Life is hard at times. Maybe you got a bad grade on a test, maybe the boy you like asked another girl to the prom, maybe a giant zit landed in between your eyebrows and refused to leave. Or maybe you’re all grown up and the test result is cancer, or maybe the boy you married is the man who left you, or maybe the prescription steroid you take for rheumatoid arthritis has made the scale groan beneath you no matter how many times you go to the gym. And you don’t have the energy to do what you used to do, or what you would want to do if you could ever feel like you; the “you” you used to be or thought you were. And you wonder how you will make it or even if you want to because you are not even sure what “it” is. Sometimes you don’t know where you are going anymore or even if you care. You are tired and you need to rest. If you could close your eyes and hibernate like a bear in the woods covered beneath a blanket of snow in a silent wood … well you might just rest enough to try again.
This post is for all those who need to rest.
For those who wonder if God sees you in this season. If you need to feel the hand of God cool on your brow, giving you permission to just stop and rest awhile; because He gives rest to the weary (Isaiah 40:29; Jeremiah 31:25) and hope to the lonely (Psalm 68:5,6). He speaks in the silence and brings calm in the chaos. He can be seen in the tempest and perceived in darkness.
Dear friends, this world will bring sorrow and deep grief. There is no doubt about it and no denying that it will come to each one of us at one time or another. In the midst of the battle, whatever enemy you might be fighting, the Lord prepares a table and invites us to sit and rest, to eat and be filled.
Let me ask you, do you ever invite your friends to dinner, spend all day preparing a feast, then leave before they arrive, stay away while they dine and wait until they take their leave before returning? That would be absurd. God has said He prepares for us a table in the presence of our enemies. (Psalm 23:5) If the Lord prepares a table for us, then He is our Host and therefore present with us as we sit and rest, as we eat and are filled. He is with us in the storm.
But how can this be? When we think of dining with the Lord we imagine heavenly palaces and a supernatural kingdom, far from the grief of this earth. Yet the Bible tells us He prepares a table for us in the midst of our enemies, on the battleground, amongst the blood and carnage and even death. God knows that in this world we will have trouble but He also says that He has overcome the world. (John 16:33) So the Lord invites us to receive from Him in the middle of our battles, in the middle of our grief, in the middle of our heartaches and sickness and loss and fears. When we accept His invitation we will receive whatever it is we need to carry on because we are sitting at the King’s table and everything we need is in abundant supply. (Psalm 23:1)
It can be so difficult to understand, so confusing to our modern minds; why would God ask us to dine with Him in the middle of life’s greatest struggles. Why not take us back to the palace or to a place of victory. Why invite us to stop and eat in a place that feels like defeat. He is the King after all. This is a hard illustration for us today because we see pictures of the British royal family attending gala openings and football matches, not on the front line of battle. In days gone by kings would lead their soldiers into battle, a scene more reminiscent of Lord of the Rings than the House of Windsor. You could trust your king because he went ahead of you and prepared the way; he did not ask of you what he was not prepared to do or give himself. He was the first in battle and willing to lay down his life for those he served.
Can we see Him now, our warrior King; He is the One who goes before us, who fights for us and is with us in the battle wherever we go. (Matthew 28:20) Who fits us with armor and teaches our hands to fight. (Psalm 144:1) Who binds up our wounds and brings healing in His wings. (Psalm 147:3; Malachi 4:2) He is the King of glory and He invites us to dine in the middle of our struggle because He sees our need.
Beloved, if we would stop being amazed and surprised at the struggle, as though something unexpected had over taken us (1 Peter 4:12), then we might stop looking in confusion at the battle around us and see instead the invitation to rest and eat in the middle of it all.
No other king can do this. No other king would have the courage or audacity or foolishness to invite his soldiers to sit and start feasting in the middle of the battle, right there on the battlefield in the midst of the enemy. Who does that??? The King of glory, that’s who! The King above all kings, the Lord Jehovah!! For crying out loud, can we see how glorious He is?
He makes a mockery of the enemy by lavishing on us a feast in the midst of their very worst assault. He laughs at their schemes and thwarts their plans. Only the King of kings and Lord of lords can do this.
You can lay it down now friend. You can rest. The King is here and He sees you. He has invited you to come and rest, come and be strengthened, come and be filled. Don’t worry about the battle any longer. The King is here and He is with us.