come to the table
Have you heard?
You are invited.
Invited to the greatest party ever held…
But first, let me get really honest with you about life for a second.
The truth is that life is hard. It includes turmoil and tragedy, heartbreak and heartache, confusion and anger, sadness and pain, disappointment and fear…the list is endless.
The truth is that you will get hurt. By others actions towards you, and by decisions you make. There is no stopping that.
The truth is that you will experience fear. There will be things in this world you are afraid of, and at times the fear will be paralyzing.
The truth is that you will not always be treated with kindness and you will not always treat others with kindness. You will get frustrated and act on it. You will say and do things you wish you didn’t.
The truth is that life will not go as planned. Sin will get in the way, but more importantly, our Father’s plan will prevail over ours. More often than not, we are given the first step to take, and have to trust that the rest will come into view. Sometimes it may feel as though you are walking blindly through life.
The truth is that you will go through seasons where you feel completely alone. Seasons where your heart is dried up and thirsting for community and relationship.
The truth is that you will mess up. Over and over. Day after day. You will ruin things and hurt others. You will be imperfect, and that won’t change.
The truth is that life is not easy. Not at all.
But, there is hope.
Hope in forgiveness. Hope in grace. Hope in peace. Hope in love. And hope in eternal life.
And here is why. I am sure you are familiar with this story, but let me tell it to you again.
Jesus, the man who knew no sin, who walked this Earth loving perfectly and living a life full of grace is the hope.
His time here on Earth was spent healing, loving, and teaching. With a single touch or word, He did the unthinkable and performed miracles. With a generous smile and a posture of grace, He led others to the belief they could be set free. He was the One they had been waiting for.
He was betrayed by Judas- a follower and so-called friend of His. While crying out to His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was arrested and taken before the high priest. This is where it all began.
The false accusations and lies told by others ultimately led people to condemn Him to a criminal’s death on the cross. Our most perfect and blameless Savior dying a criminal’s death.
Deciding death was simply not enough, the people decided to beat and mock Jesus. Whips penetrated His flesh until His skin was raw. A crown of thorns was pushed deep down into his scalp until blood ran down his face. The crowd yelled slanderous words at Him. He was mocked as those who hurt Him bowed down at His feet saying, “Hail! King of the Jews.” Their laughter rang out…
Here they were- jeering and heckling. Cheering for the crucifixion of THEIR Savior.
With energy and stamina lacking, and as His breaths became weaker, a 110 pound cross was thrust down on Him. Collapsing under the weight of our sins, with every fiber in His being He managed to lug the cross to His place of death. With pieces of wood splintering into His already raw skin, He carried the tool that would be used to kill Him. Words of hatred were being shouted from every direction. Every ounce of pride, hatred, selfishness, greed, idolatry, and lies that existed in the world were weighing on Him. Every step taken brought Him closer to His death. Closer to saving those who loved Him and those who hated Him.
As nails were pierced through His feet and hands, He yelled out in agony, unable to hide the unbearable pain of it all. With Jesus secured to the wooden cross, soldiers thrust it up into a standing position. It jarred His body and sent waves of shock and pain through every fiber. With His weight only being held up by the nails in his hands, the tearing and pressure put on the rest of His body was insufferable. This had to be the end of it. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” As those He was dying for continued to mock Him and anxiously await His final breath, His body slowed, and He knew His job was done.
With the final word, “Tetelesti,” Jesus breathed His last breath and gave up His spirit.
The night before his crucifixion, Jesus sat around a table with his disciples. His greatest followers. His closest friends. They enjoyed food with one another while being filled with the words of the Messiah. Breaking bread, sharing stories, enjoying fellowship…
Can you imagine?
Can you imagine what it would be like to sit at the table and eat a meal with the King? To share a drink with the One who can heal a man with just a simple touch or word. To have face to face conversation with your Creator that already knows your heart through and through. To have a chance to crawl into His arms and be embraced by the only One who brings peace.
What a privilege.
What a profound, monumental, and life changing experience.
To share a table with the King of the world.
But here’s what really matters. The truth that really penetrates the soul and changes lives.
YOU are invited to that table.
And more than that, YOU are wanted at that table.
Desperately wanted and desired.
Your invitation is not just a kind afterthought. No, it is an invitation filled with desire and sincere overwhelming want.
By the time you read these letters, you will have come to the realization of what a twisted world we live in and what an undeserving human population we are.
We are made up of cheaters, liars, and thieves.
You have failed. You have done wrong. You have said things you shouldn’t have.
Yet, you are invited.
You are wanted.
We all are.
People often automatically assume their invitation has been retracted because of things they have done. They assume they are no longer wanted, and the opportunity of forgiveness and a life with the Father is no longer possible. They begin to believe they are no longer worthy of love and His mercy.
But nothing is farther from the truth.
No matter how far you run, He is always pursuing you and awaiting your return. Being the good shepherd He is, He will always seek out the one lost sheep, when there are ninety-nine already saved.
Our Father is one of continual pursuit and unending mercy. Even as we move further away, He follows us in hope that we will turn and run to His embrace.
In hope that we will choose Him the way He chose us.
Maliyah, He chose you. He died for you. And even if the rest of the world didn’t need saving, He would still have gone through it all to save your life. You are His beloved daughter, and He is inviting you to the table.
Not just for one meal, but for all eternity.
He is inviting you to be a part of the family, and embrace the opportunity to be redeemed, transformed, and forgiven. He is inviting you choose a life that matters and has purpose. He is inviting you to accept you are broken, and allow Him to pick up those broken pieces in your life and turn them into something extravagant. He is inviting you to do life with Him now and forever.
I pray so many things for you, but this I pray most of all. That you would accept that invitation. That the truth of Him choosing you would wash over you and flood your heart with feelings of such love, acceptance, and peace. That all the battles in your life and things you are wrestling with, would go to the way side and that you would let yourself fall into the arms of our Father whose embrace is like none other.
This world will extend to you many invitations. Some good and some bad. But no invitation will be like this one. No invitation you get will ever be as undeserved as this one, as life changing as this one, and as eternal as this one.
More than anything in this world, I want to be sitting at the table with you by my side.
As the world watched their Savior take His last breath, many of them thought this was the end. The end of this man who claimed to be the Messiah. The end of what was seeming to be hope in something wonderful and life changing.
But three days later when that tomb was found empty, they realized it was just the beginning. The beginning of hope. The beginning of restored relationships and second chances. The beginning of chains breaking. The beginning of true freedom.
Freedom to live a life for Him without worry. Without fear. Without punishment.
But rather a life filled with all the things He offers us- peace, joy, mercy, grace, and love.
The whipping. The spitting. The mocking. The crown of thorns. The nails. The betrayal. The pain. The anguish.
All of it for you.
Because He loves you. He forgives you. And He chose you.
So come to the table.
Be redeemed. Be restored. Be forgiven. And be freed.
All my love,