The Family Table

by Candy Arrington

Joining them at the table for supper, he took bread and blessed it and broke it, then gave it to them. All at once their eyes were opened and they realized it was Jesus! Luke 24:30-31 TPT

One of my favorite times is when our family gathers around our dining room table to share a meal together. Each person present is special and important to me. Each contributes to the joy of the gathering. Each brings different insights to conversations or injects humor. And the grandchildren provide an added element of happiness and celebration no matter what the occasion. Currently, the one-year-old expresses his satisfaction with his food by loud “ummming” as he chews, interspersed with squeals.

We sit at the table my parents started housekeeping with, dating back to the year of their marriage in 1947. For many years, after my mother bought a new table, my parents’ original table lived at my grandmother’s house. Countless family meals happened at this table, and when we moved the table to our house, the tradition continued.

The Bible provides numerous stories of times when people gathered for meals. Martha was busy preparing a meal when Jesus told her fellowship with him was more important. Jesus shared a last supper with his disciples around an upper room table before his arrest and crucifixion. After his resurrection, he prepared an outdoor breakfast for his fishmen disciples. During a meal at a family table, two disciples from Emmaus finally recognized their traveling companion was Jesus.

The family table is more important today than ever before. In a time when technology lures our attention and robs us of quality personal interaction and conversation, taking time to sit at the family table provides a chance for prayer, fellowship, instruction, and discussion. In addition to feeding our bodies, we also have the opportunity to feed our minds and model the life of faith for each other. Like the two disciples from Emmaus, the family table is often a place where our eyes are opened to spiritual truths that impact our daily lives.

When our family gathers for a meal, we sing the blessing, and often, one of our three-year-old grandchildren leads the way. When we finish singing, we all applaud, an offering of praise and thanksgiving. The words we sing give thanks for our food, but also for friends and family. As we sing, we look at each other’s faces, and give silent thanks for the blessing of our family bond.

When our grandchildren are grown, they will recall these times around the family table. They will remember thanking God, the joy of family time together, and the bond of love we share. And it is my prayer that they will teach their children the importance of daily communion with God and living lives that glorify him.

Listen! I am standing and knocking at your door. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and we will eat together. Revelation 3:20 CEV

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

Candy Arrington

About the author: Candy Arrington has written hundreds of articles and devotionals, often on tough topics. Her books include AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B & H) and When Your Aging Parent Needs Care: Practical Help for This Season of Life (Harvest House). Candy is a native South Carolinian, who gains writing inspiration from historic architecture, vintage photographs, nature, and the application of Biblical principles to everyday life. Learn more about Candy at www.CandyArrington.com, where you can also read her blog, Forward Motion: Moving Beyond What Holds You Back.

Candy’s book, When Your Aging Parent Needs Care, is a help to those who face the special effort of caring for a parent. It provides support and direction to enable the caregiver to be spiritually, physically, and emotionally prepared for the day to day challenges they face.

Join the conversation: What has happened around your family table?

Where are You?

by Candy Arrington @CandyArrington

“But the LORD God called to the man, ‘Where are you?'” Genesis 3:9 (NIV)

The final years of my mother’s life were filled with health issues, resulting in surgeries, complications, physical therapy rehabilitation, and pain. In the last months, dementia wrapped her in a haze of befuddlement and fear.

Each day, when I entered the “memory” unit of the care facility, before I even saw my mother, I heard her pleading voice reverberate down the corridor, “Please! Please! Won’t somebody help me?” Even when I sat beside her, held her hand, and assured her of my presence, she continued to yell for help. During those difficult days, I often prayed, God, where are you? How does my mother’s suffering glorify you? When will you answer her cry for rescue?

During challenging times, it’s not unusual to ask, “God, where are you?” We want an immediate response to questions that sometimes have no ready answers. We question God’s timing, wanting to know the outcome of the situation prior to its resolution. But have you ever wondered what it’s like for God when we distance ourselves from him?

When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they experienced fear for the first time. Suddenly, they understood the consequences of sin—separation from God. Prior to sin, they eagerly awaited God and enjoyed fellowship with Him in the cool, lush garden that was their home. After disobeying, they feared God’s reaction and hid from their Creator.

Even before he asked “Where are you?” God knew his relationship with Adam and Eve had changed.

Many days, God asks me the same question, “Where are you?” Chores capture my attention. Deadlines loom. Emails, social networking, phone conversations, or TV watching eat up valuable hours with little return. And God waits patiently, knocking on my heart’s door, asking where I am and why I haven’t spent time with Him.

Where are you? A good question. Where am I in my spiritual walk? Where am I in my prayer life? Where am I in Bible study? Where am I in sharing the Good News? Sometimes I am hiding because I’ve allowed unconfessed sin to erect a colossal barrier. Other days, I am simply lazy and undisciplined, navigating life on my own terms, seeking wisdom elsewhere, and fearing things that may never happen. Yet God patiently waits, longing for special times of connection with me.

Sometimes we forget that God created us specifically for the purpose of having fellowship with him. The word picture in Revelation 3:20 of Jesus sitting at the dinner table sharing a meal with us provides a reminder of the warm fellowship afforded us, if we’re willing to take advantage of it.

But too often we ignore His offer of intimate friendship. God stands by waiting to impart wisdom, encourage us, comfort, and help us with problems and struggles. He misses us when we remain distant. But instead of seeking him and looking forward to time with him, we hide behind duties, obligations, events, relationships, or self-created busyness that we consider more urgent or important. We fall into bed at night exhausted, and God is still waiting, sad that we have ignored him yet another day, whispering, “I’m here. Where are you?”

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me” Revelation 3:20 (NIV).

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Where are You? Thoughts on #FollowingGod in the Tough Times from @CandyArrington on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Candy ArringtonAbout the author: Candy Arrington has written hundreds of articles and devotionals, often on tough topics. Her books include AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B & H) and When Your Aging Parent Needs Care: Practical Help for This Season of Life (Harvest House). Candy is a native South Carolinian, who gains writing inspiration from historic architecture, vintage photographs, nature, and the application of Biblical principles to everyday life. Learn more about Candy at www.CandyArrington.com, where you can also read her blog, Forward Motion: Moving Beyond What Holds You Back.

Candy’s book, When Your Aging Parent Needs Care, is a help to those who face the special effort of caring for a parent. It provides support and direction to enable the caregiver to be spiritually, physically, and emotionally prepared for the day to day challenges they face.

Join the conversation: What keeps you from fellowship with the Father?