The curved banquet table lay before my searching eyes. Every delicious and colorful food imaginable was displayed in graduating levels, a cornucopia of delights! What my eyes missed, a brief inhale caught. The wonderful aromas evoked memories of family reunions, church potlucks and restaurant smorgasbords. My mind raced with choices, my mouth was ready to consume any dish my eyes coveted.
So mesmerized by the scents and anticipation of taste, I hardly noticed the man quietly standing behind the table until he called my name, indicating my turn. Surprised by his personal acknowledgment, my thoughts were in a quandary. His voice seemed familiar, so open and beckoning, but his face I couldn’t place. I stepped forward to begin. My eyes danced between the abundant display of food and the curious man in front of me.
As I reached for the plate his hand also reached for it and gently he asked, “Gail, can I assist you?”
My immediate thought was to grab the plate first, ignore his request and begin loading it with my favorites, bypassing the recipes I disliked.
Instead, I flashed a quick, patronizing smile and answered with a curt, “No thank you, I can manage this myself.”
I caught a slight wince across his face and wished I hadn’t sounded so independent. After all I reasoned—I AM an adult! I scolded myself, come on, he had only wanted to help…but how could he know what I craved and brought ultimate satisfaction to me?
We stood motionless looking at one another across the table. His willing offer continued to ring in my ears. I was captured by his compassionate eyes that seemed to say, I want to help you, I’ve waited for this moment.
I glanced at the array of food before us and began to protest, but one glance back to his face indicated I would bring him displeasure if I didn’t allow his request. I wrestled with thoughts of, this is ridiculous—I’m in my forties! I know what I want and what I like! It’s MY life, who is this guy anyway? Yet every time my eyes connected with his kind face, those autonomous thoughts weakened. He waited patiently, seeming to search my heart as I resolved my inward struggle.
When my hand withdrew from the plate, his face glowed. With enthusiasm he spooned portions of this and that on to my plate. I interjected my requests with persistence. Some he eagerly agreed with, others he only commented,
“No Gail that would not be good for you.”
“And you think that is good for me?” I complained, disputing his choice. He simply handed the plate back to me with a steady look of concern. My head bowed with embarrassment, “I’m sorry, sir. It just has been so long that I’ve run things my way.”
A knowing smile accompanied his outstretched hand and I handed the plate back to him with a promise to not take it again. More portions were heaped on my plate than I ever thought possible as we walked along the banquet table!
The alarm clock buzzed waking me with a start! Aromas of delectable dishes were quick to dissipate as my eyes adjusted to the light. What a curious dream, I thought and my stomach echoed its memory with a growl of hunger. I slowly replayed the dream in my mind and wondered about its meaning.
I plodded into the bathroom and headed for the shower. The hot spray massaged my slow-to-awake muscles. A gentle voice, barely heard above the splattering stream of water, said,
“About the dream Gail, the smorgasbord is your life.”
Suddenly, no longer sleepy, I quickly pushed in the shower knob, grabbed my towel and I stood motionless, stunned by the clear interpretation.
The voice continued, “Will you ask me before making choices? My plans for you long ago have been for good and I really do know what is best. Let me dish up your life. I have an abundance of delights for you. Keep that in mind, always.” The room grew quiet.
“That voice, it’s the same one in my dream—inviting, patient and reassuring,” I whispered in awe. “The man at the banquet table was my Lord Jesus! Now I understand why that face showed such kindness and welcome,” I blurted!
My thoughts ran together and assured my heart. He was right. I had made quite a mess of my life with choices based on common sense, cravings and whims. It was now time to consult Him to hear His direction and to obey Him. How foolish and stubborn I had been.
In surrender, within the cloistered shower stall, I called to Him, “I submit to Your plans for me dear Lord. It is You and only You I want to please.”
My promise to Him echoed in the porcelain room then, and continues to through the many years since I let Him serve at His banquet of daily blessings. I have been challenged and surprised, but never disappointed.
For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
By Gail Justesen