Look! I’m standing at the door and knocking. If any hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to be with them, and will have dinner with them, and they will have dinner with me.
-Revelation 3:20, CEB
She sat there with this look of determination and defiance in her eyes. I had asked her the question my aunt Constance had asked me several times during my seminary journey, “What did God say?” She was trying to avoid my question. She was trying to justify why her way was the right way to go. I sat across from her, patiently waiting for the lightbulb or a lightning bolt to flash. She continued by saying, “There is a right way to do things and I believe my way is the right way.”
She was one of my best friends and while I saw her point in that particular situation, I knew that I had to stand firm in my resolve to be a helpful rather than enabling. I knew that I was risking her anger and perhaps a big bump in our friendship journey. However, I had been where she was and I could see the fear flaring up behind those dagger looks in her eyes.
We had just gone head to head; so, I lowered my voice and allowed oxygen to flow again between us. I asked one more time, “What did God say?” Finally, she allowed one tear to start then another and then she said, “God told me to stay.” I allowed a few moments to pass and I then I asked, “Why are fighting with God? Why are you so afraid?”
In that moment, I felt that question turn right back on me. “Why are you fighting me Patrice? Why are you so afraid Patrice?” Now, there is nothing like trying to help a friend and God decides to help you along the way. It really doesn’t matter how she and I answered these questions. In fact, God told me to tell her not to tell me the answers. God wanted her to come to a place of communing with God once again. So, what really matters is what she said to God. The same is true for me and the same is true for you. God is asking us all, “Why are you fighting God? Why are you so afraid?”
A church mate shared this this other day, “There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then, have it your way.” Now this statement can be read in two ways. We can hear God angrily conceding to our determination and defiance. Or, we can hear God’s heart breaking as the last statement is exhaled from our loving Parent. Here the last statement again and imagine God’s tear drop hitting the top of your head as you go full steam ahead, “All right, then have it your way.”
You see, sometimes we put on our boxing gloves and expect to step into the ring with God. But, really, God is preparing a table of invitation. God wants to sit with us to talk it out, to reason with us, to sway us, to woo us with love. While we may be intelligent, wise, and capable, God is all-knowing. That difference in ability makes all the difference. We know in part; God knows fully. We see through one perspective; God sees all perspectives. God loves all and we struggle with loving anyone, including ourselves.
So, the table of invitation is really about a dialogue. God wants to hear what’s on our minds but God wants to share the mind of God as well. Sometimes, we are so used to fighting – fighting to live in this world, fighting to get ahead, fighting to prove our worth to others, fighting just to breathe – that we keep on those gloves. But, as you know, you can’t do anything but fight with those gloves. You can’t enjoy the table God has prepared. No matter how strong they make you feel, you will never eat at the table without knocking over stuff – joy, peace, assurance, wisdom, favor, LOVE. So, today, I am here to remind everyone – including me – to take off the gloves, stop the fighting, release the fear, open the door, open your heart, and dine with God for a while.