Elbow on the Table

The day Leslie began her senior year of high school, I had an awakening. I panicked because I realized I had one short year left to teach her everything she needed to navigate through life without parents nearby. I promptly began her crash course on table manners. Every time her elbow landed on the table, it would receive a flicking thump…right on her funny bone. She didn’t find it amusing in the least. I became the grammar police, correcting any inappropriately used adjective, adverb and pronoun. Every day, she would open her lunch bag and discover a tidbit of wisdom.

Perhaps Jesus decided His last hours needed to be spent teaching and preparing His most beloved friends how they could naviagate life without His tangible presence.

But Leslie had a plan far different from mine. She wanted to spend every available moment with her friends. This very special group of 30+ teenage girls and boys loved each other well. They accepted one another, recognizing each was unique. They protected each other. And they laughed a lot. After graduating, they spent every evening together. Fully aware that they would be scattering in different directions and life would forever change, they began fervently clinging to their friendship.

Honestly, I think Leslie had it right. It is more likely that Jesus wanted to enjoy every available minute He had left on this earth walking and talking with those He knew loved Him as best they knew how to love.

Jesus assured His disciples that while He would be leaving them soon, they would follow later. Peter boldly responded, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” (John 13:36-38)

Jesus knew that man’s spoken promises can flow much easier than the commitment to honor our words. I think it was in His kindness, He informed Peter that before the rooster crowed, Peter would disown Jesus three times. Jesus knew Peter well. He knew his strengths and his weaknesses. He accepted Peter and knew what He would be able to do through Peter’s brokenness and failures.

Jesus quickly followed His warnings about what was coming with the directive, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” (John 14:1)

Just as Jesus’ disciples needed to be comforted because of their uncertainty and fears, we desperately need to hear the same assurance today. I am sure that anxiety levels have reached a new high. What will be the long range affects of the pandemic that sent us into quarantine? How is life going to be navigated from this day forward? When will I be able to work again? Will I ever be safe? So many questions. So much uncertainty.

We are told to not allow our hearts be troubled. But how? What is the remedy for sickness of heart? Jesus tells us it is faith. It is surrendering our concerns and fears to His capable hands and trusting Him. It is beyond me how He does it…it is a super-natural victory.

I know it isn’t easy. Surrendering is challenging. Letting go of the control we want is difficult. It requires that I release my desire to write the end of the story the way I think is best. But I am convinced that when we face the worst possible scenario head on, and trust the One who loves us passionately and wants the best for us, God supernaturally transforms our fears into peace. Can’t explain it but I’ve experienced it. Can’t manufacture a surrendered spirit by grit and determination.  But I can pursue and press into His faithfulness.

I would love to hear how you have learned to walk in trust. For me, the only path I’ve found is focusing on who God is, pondering His attributes, talking honestly to Him and remembering all He has done. It’s humbling but it also creates within me a heart of gratitude. And super-naturally, worries that revolved around what appeared to be impossible circumstances transform into worship of the One who can do the impossible. And because He is good, I can trust that everything He does is good.

Questions to ponder:

When am I allowing my heart to be troubled?

Where do I struggle to trust God?

Is He trustworthy? What does my answer to this question say about me?




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