Eating with a Three-Year-Old

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She climbed into the dining chair easily.

It was the staying in it that proved difficult.

First she dropped her fork, then after a trip underneath the table and a trip back up top for air, her napkin also fell. Both would have proved an easy retrieval for longer arms, but both were forbidden of help.

A secret unexpectedly remembered, she rounded the table to the other side to share. Once her seat was regained, there was the pressing urge for to the bathroom, a tried and true method of escape she had used since beginning potty-training.

When actually seated at the table, she stirred, pushed, and whined. She needed ketchup. She needed salt. She needed a drink. She needed her mother. Very little eating actually occurred since she “wasn’t hungry”. With the absolute minimum bite allowance achieved, her stomach grumbled and she needed dessert.

Have you eaten with a three-year-old lately?

The Father recently reminded me how very often we act the same way. Every day, He invites us to join Him at His banqueting table for Living Bread. We dawdle, procrastinate, and sleep in. When we finally make the commitment, we are easily distracted with concerns around the table. We think about the weather, the house, the car, the church, the family. We pretend we take these to prayer, but mostly we just mull or worry over them.

Too often, we survey His feast with disdain. We scan over the goodies, looking for the salty or sweet passages, which we personally favor. We waste time, whining for new insight, new flourish, or a new translation. When trials force us to eat, we seek a pre-chewed devotional source, consume as little as possible, and slip away without asking to be excused.

None of this surprises our Father. He has raised many children and some of His best “sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play” (Exodus 32:6). Amazingly enough, some of these individuals had eaten with Him at a heavenly table set on a pavement of sapphire. And this just six weeks prior (Exodus 24:9-12)! Aren’t we thankful that “just as a father has compassion of his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him?” (Psalm 103:13)

I want to remain at the table longer this year. I want to act a bit more grown-up, sit a little more patiently and eat a little more. But I am still such a child. I must talk to my Father about this and seek His discipline. After all, He has brought me to His banquet table and showered me with His unrelenting love (Song 2:4). May I take great delight, sitting down to find His fruit sweet to my taste (Song 2:3).

Even so Lord Jesus come.