Welcome to the Be Fully Persuaded series! This week Lisa shares how God showed His love for her through a simple invitation. I pray that you will be encouraged to move forward in your faith walk as you read her testimony.
Thank you for meeting me here every week to rejoice in God’s faithfulness to keep His promises and in His creative provision for every area of our lives. I pray that we are all encouraged to stand strong in our faith and that God will make Romans 4:20-21 a reality for all of us as we focus on Him and His Word:
Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
Romans 4:20-21 (NIV)
You Are So Invited by Lisa Nehring
I recently ordered a book from the library titled You Are So Invited. I’ve been on an intentional living read-fest and thought this would fit right in. Instead, it was a party planning book. It was fun but not what I expected. The title, however, You are SO invited!, has been floating around in my brain ever since.
My dear friend Ruth just had a 60th birthday party, hosted by a mutual friend. It was lovely, with china plates, crystal, beautiful decorations, and delicious food, all served to us by our friend and her husband. Ruth was surrounded by friends young and old ranging in age from 32 to 86. We played a few games, ate, shared memories, laughed, and talked. Towards the end of our time together, Ruth had each guest read a letter she had written to one of the other guests. (She didn’t want to read them because she said she’d cry, and she didn’t want us to read our own because she said we’d cry. We all ended up laughing and crying anyway!) Each letter was a sweet testimony to the relationship that we had with Ruth, our struggles, pains, victories and hope in Jesus, a Bible verse that Ruth believed would be our testimony, and was signed with love.
A couple of things emerged from these sweet gifts. We realized that despite the details, most of our struggles were similar. Secondly, we each felt so included, loved, and accepted. Even though many of us were meeting for the first time, we were part of the party, a vital part of the celebration. We truly were so invited. The party ended with everyone talking about when we could get together again and whose house we would meet at!
I know that this is where God wants us to live. He wants us to live in the knowledge and understanding that we are so invited; we are a vital part of His party, His plan on this earth. We belong to Him intimately, truly, and if we so decide, eternally. He is writing encouragement, hope, truth, and a testimony on our hearts even as we struggle and survive.
I was wrestling with this the other day. Honestly, my faith has waned in ways over past months that have left me doubting certain truths that are foundational to me. We have gone through a long season of incredibly difficult loss—burned out of our house and the loss of most of our earthly possessions, three moves, a long, difficult and expensive house rebuild, the unexpected deaths of my sister and dad, extensive and expensive medical challenges, and our adult children making statements and decisions that are causing us deep heartache and concern. I am a simple person, and this season has taxed me beyond forbearance.
I saw a picture, years ago, of an elaborately set table by the sea; it was breathtaking. The caption read, Come to the Table. God brought that picture to mind as I was struggling to embrace His reassurance that I was so invited, in the face of feeling so forgotten and beat up. He spoke to my heart that I am to come to His beautiful table, sit, eat, and partake of what He has for me: acceptance, beauty, truth, love, and peace, even in the midst of hardship and loss, sacrifice, and sorrow.
When I sit at a table, my back is to the rest of the room. I am focused on the food and the fellowship. In other words, the troubles and worries of this world need to be at our backs. Our face needs to be turned towards Him, and like Stephen, if we can FACE HIM first, we can then face our troubles with utmost serenity, love, and faithfulness. We can rest in the fact that we are so invited. The table is set FOR US, the LORD is there FOR US. We are not alone, we are not left to be killed by our troubles, we are not left to rot in despair. We are so specifically, intentionally invited, and the Lord is there, His arms outstretched, waiting for each one of us to cast our cares, worries, troubles, needs and hopes at His feet.
It’s another simple, paradoxical, faith-testing truth. But it’s the real thing. I am so invited. YOU are SO invited. God’s table is FULL and waiting for YOU. Are you coming?
How do you respond to God’s invitation to join Him in the midst of the troubles of life?
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Lisa has a couple of degrees (M.A. and M.F.T.) and a lot of kids (5). Along with her polymath husband, who is constantly wowing her with little known facts of import, she has homeschooled for over two decades. Lisa reads, writes, and follows the Master of the Universe on what’s been a wild ride and amazing party.