Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. – Isaiah 25:1
Even if you don’t have children you may have one of these pictures stuffed away in a box somewhere in your house. A small toddler hand stamped by you, your child, or your grandchild. Forever printed on the paper, the size of that little hand from a certain age and certain time of year. May be you, your child, or grandchild even measured the current size of hand to the one painted on that paper. You probably smiled when you found it in the box, or pulled it out of the backpack, or unwrapped it from a box. An unexpected handmade surprise.
Every month we have one Fill the Table Friday at our home. We host a dinner and invite whomever wants to come, to share a meal with us. Unbeknownst to me, our dinner late February was going to be our last for an indefinite period of time. About 4 days after that dinner I was sitting at my dining room table. The sun was beating through the window and my dog was napping on the wood floor in the warm rays. I looked at the patio door and there was a small, toddler sized handprint right on the door. It made me smile when I thought about how fun those nights are and was a sweet reminder of the hands that had opened and closed the door that Friday evening looking for water or a drink from the cooler. And then later that week I cleaned the patio doors and wiped the handprint off the glass.
This past Friday should’ve been build your own waffle night for our April Fill the Table Friday. My kids were looking forward to it. Heck I was looking forward to it. Unfortunately due to the lock down from corona virus we had to cancel. I got a text from a good friend that night:
If I didn’t know it before, I know now that my family and I are not the only ones that are missing these Fill the Table Friday’s. The virus itself may have been expected, but the way it was going to change our lives and affect our communities was definitely unexpected. I think about that small handprint at unexpected times now. I think about the sweet little people that I love. The children of very close friends that run around those Friday nights laughing and giggling. I think about the adults I wish I could hug on those Friday nights. If I would’ve known two months ago that I wouldn’t entertain those people in my home again for a very long time, I probably would’ve left that small handprint as a reminder of what my heart longed to do again.
Our lives are filled with unexpected realities that we weren’t planning on. Sometimes those realities will be good but often they are not. We must not let the unexpected realities paralyze us in the fear of the unknown or the fear of the unplanned. God wants us to keep going. He wants us to get back in the car and take the new road in front of us. Through it all, he is with us and through it all we can be grateful for him and sing his praises. Singing his praises through good and bad times helps to keep our minds positive and our outlook on life less fearful.
On this mountain he will destroy
the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;
he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all the faces;
he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth.
Today I will remember the small handprint and treasure it deep in my heart. I can love on the memories of laughter and fellowship with friends. But I won’t dwell on what is not there. I will instead look towards the unexpected future that God has in store for me. Fill the Table Fridays may have to change. May be they won’t look the same as they did before, but God will make sure they aren’t gone forever.
What unexpected event happened in your life recently? How has it changed what you do or how you act? Sing praises to God for the unexpected future that is waiting for you. It might not be tomorrow or next week but it’s waiting for you. One day you will turn around and God will have wiped the tears from your eyes and he will restore the joy to your soul. PRAISE GOD!