An Empty Pantry and Heart Full of Faith

12:04 PMHeather

We sat on the patio of the restaurant, enjoying the beautiful sunny day and warmer temperatures.  Our table was right next to the fireplace and the setting was an ideal place to catch up with my sweet Grandmother with my good friend Amy.  I was so pleased to introduce them.  I knew they would enjoy each other.  Of course, in my life, they both have been so precious and so dear that it seemed right that they should get to know each other.  



My Grandmother with my kids, doing Sic Em Bears
 
Grandmother leaned into the table, and remarked about how our conversation reminded her of one time when she was a girl.  I sat in anticipation.  My Grandmother, my dad's mom, has one of the most fascinating life stories I've ever known. It's an epic true tale of love and loss and faith, with twists and turns and villains and heroes. And she is a fantastic story teller.  So I knew we were in for a treat.  

"I was about eleven years old.  And it was just the three of us at that point.  Mother, Daddy and me.  We were living in a terrible little two room apartment.  It was awful.  Dad was having trouble working by then.  His legs were getting so bad and the factory work was so hard.  Times were hard.  Really, very hard.  

That day, there was nothing to eat in the house.  Nothing but some powdered milk and a grapefruit.  There was nothing in the ice box--not even ice.  And there was nothing in the cabinets.  Dinner time was drawing close.  Now, I knew there was nothing to eat.  We all knew it. 

Then my mom did something I did not expect or understand.  Mom stood up and went and got a table cloth.  And she spread it out over the table, smoothing it until it looked just right, lying across the table. 

I watched her.  And then I watched her go back and sit in her chair.  She was taking in people's sewing by then, trying to make a little extra money.  So she sat and rocked and stitched.  

And it made me mad.  She knew there was no food in the house.  And I knew it too.  I honestly thought my mother had flipped her lid.  I thought she had lost it at that point.  

So, I said to her--so indignant-- 'Now, Mother.  You know we have no food.  Why would go do such a thing as put a table cloth on that table?  There's nothing to eat.  Not a thing.'

I really gave her the what-for. 

And she rocked and looked up, and said so calmly, 'Althea, if the good Lord means for us to eat tonight, then we will eat.' With that, she turned back to her sewing and kept working away.

Then, I knew.  I knew she had really lost it after all.  

Before long, there was a knock on our door.  A neighbor from down the hall was standing there with a little pot.  He explained that they had invited his brother and wife over for dinner, but they had gotten sick.  They had no ice for their ice box either, so their little pot of leftovers were just going to go bad.  He wondered if we might like it.

So Mother and Dad and I sat at that table, with the table cloth on, and ate the stew from that little pot.  

And I began to wonder if my mother knew something about God that I didn't."

I have to admit, bloggy friends.  I was mesmerized by my Grandmother's story.  She has lived a hard life and faced more trials than any one person should endure.  She opens her past to me gently, infrequently, gifting me with these gems from her past.  These nuggets of experience that show me her character.  But more importantly, her faith and the character of our God.

I have pondered this story since she shared it this past Sunday.  I have turned it over and over in my head.  And it makes me wonder.  

Do we know something about God that others don't?  Do we really even know Him at all?  How committed are we to knowing Him so intimately, walking with Him so closely that we dare to set a table when there is no food?

I don't think my Great Grandmother's faith was crazy.  I don't think she had lost it at all.  What she did was not throwing down a gauntlet, daring God to show up.  What she did was walk with her Lord so closely that she knew His goodness.  She knew His heart was for her.  She knew His provision and His faithfulness.  She knew Him.  She knew He was bigger than any need or worry she had.  

So she set the table.  She took a tiny step of faith to show her daughter--and now her great granddaughter--something about the God she knew.  

When we need Him, we can set the table.  We can pull out our best table cloth and place it just so.  And be confident that He will show up with His provision.  However He chooses.  

Because He is the Bread of Life.  And we can surely taste and see that the Lord is good.  

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