The Banquet

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Oh, Mama!” Gracie said bursting with uncontrollable excitement “I just can’t WAIT to get to heaven!!!! I can’t wait to go to the banquet feast! I wonder what my new clothes will look like. I hope my gown is as beautiful as Esther’s.

It will probably be even more beautiful than that… better than you can imagine!” I said, though I was thinking— {Where on earth is this all coming from??? Hmmmm, probably not from earth at all!}

Oh, yes! It will be magnificent! I just can’t wait for the banquet in heaven. I want to sit RIGHT NEXT to Jesus! And if there are girl angels in heaven who bake, I will bake a cherry cake with them. I will write on the frosting: ‘I LOVE JESUS FOREVER!’ and we will all sing praises like this: “Halleluiah! Glory to the Lamb! Halleluiah for Jesus’ blood!

This was one of those sweet “ah-ha” moments for me. It was precious beyond words to hear my Gracie’s bounding enthusiasm for eternity and her heart’s unquenchable pang for her true home in heaven. The conviction of her child- like faith was a heart check for me. I will be honest, I was an internal mess as I listened to her gush about the Wedding Supper of the Lamb with even greater fervor than her anticipation for Christmas. She was embracing the hope we have for things “unseen.”

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,images (1)
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

(1 Corinthians 2:9)

I will admit, I accept this hope intellectually… but sometimes my heart cannot quite loosen its earthly tendrils. When Grace said she couldn’t wait to get to heaven, my immediate thought was: “No, I don’t want you to go to heaven, yet!” As she gushed on and on about the heavenly banquet all I could think was: “Yes, I want to be there too… but not yet! And I don’t want Doug going yet either.”

And there-in revealed my heart— my true fears— though I know in my heart of hearts and have faith with all my being that Heaven IS for real and trust His promises in Revelation that: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev 21:4) The truth is, I fear the pain that would come with losing a child. I fear the pain of having to lose my husband. I fear the thought of them losing me.

When you look at your fears, you get a glimpse at what you really love. You get a glimpse of your idols. In that tender precious moment the Lord began speaking to me about those earthly tendrils of mine, and about my disordered loves. At this “ah-ha” I started to shift my focus.

Who am I? In Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. (Galatians 3:26) I am His child. Children always have a seat at their Father’s table!

And then I zeroed in on Gracie’s imagination, her anticipation, her leaping excitement, and her declarations: I love of Jesus Forever! Real. Palpable. Tender. Child-like faith. And something clicked….

When I place Jesus as my first and forever love, my idols slip away from ruling over me with fear of loss or disappointment, and can become exactly what the Lord intended them to be… blessings of grace. When my sights are set on Jesus I’ll have no earthly fears:images (2)

I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

(Psalm 16: 8-11)

In that moment, the hope of heaven, the love of Jesus, and His embrace of me as His child became realities— intellectually defensible and existentially satisfying.

I watched my fears wash away and I took my place at the banquet table praising and celebrating My Father, My Savior, My King.

Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude… shouting:

“Hallelujah!
    For our Lord God Almighty reigns.images
Let us rejoice and be glad
    and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
    and his bride has made herself ready.
Fine linen, bright and clean,
    was given her to wear.”

 Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” (Rev 19:6-9)

How do you get “invited” to the banquet? Through the blood of the Lamb. “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31) In that salvation we are transformed to His children and our invitation is inscribed in the Book of Life.

I am still in awe of how Gracie proclaims and embraces the truth. She’s fearless— boldly awaiting the coming of the feast— knowing there’s a place at the table just for her…

I want to sit RIGHT NEXT to Jesus!…I will bake a cherry cake… I will write on the frosting: ‘I LOVE JESUS FOREVER!’ and we will all sing praises like this: “Halleluiah! Glory to the Lamb! Halleluiah for Jesus’ blood!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

AnnieLaurie September 19, 2015 at 11:09 pm

I think alot about the wedding feast, too! Since I enjoy feasting so much now ya know lol. This is precious and real and TRUE! Thank you for this good word 🙂

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Steve September 21, 2015 at 2:51 pm

Great to read and I found it insightful! I think we all want to be at the Feast and in heaven, the fear is , are we? I think we are.

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