A most profound experience happened to me when I was living as a single woman. I’m remarried now, but seemingly a lifetime ago, I was married to my wonderful husband, Brion, for 30 years. He passed away from a rare disease, and I lived as a widow for over 6 years.
During that season of life, I learned a lot about my heart’s devotions. One of the many things I longed for, understandably, was human companionship, especially in the evenings when life was very quiet and still. I forever ached for all the things women love . . . conversation, romance, friendship, touch, laughter, and love.
It may seem silly, but one thing I often missed was cooking for my man. During 30 years of marriage and making meals for a family of five night after night, I never dreamed back then that I’d miss planning meals, making the mess while cooking, cleaning it up, and then repeating it all over again the next night. Evidence for me, that the simple things, or mundane tasks of a wife and mother, will often prove to be the secret treasures in life. But, my man was gone and my kids were now grown up and on their own. Because of my schedule and circumstances, I often ate dinner alone, and I discovered I truly missed making a well-planned meal and sharing it with those I loved.
While embracing the truth that God desired to be my husband during this lonely season, I tried desperately to keep my heart devoted, attached to the Lord. It was so fragile and needy, it could have bolted in many directions, not all were good. So, I decided to do something I’d never done before. I planned a delicious meal for me and Jesus. Making one of my favorite meals with all the trimmings, I turned the lights down low, set the table with my pretty dishes, prepared my plate, and sat down to eat; not alone this time but with the understanding I was in the presence of the Lord.
Purposing to envision Jesus sitting across from me, I pictured the look in his eyes, his love for me that would be etched across his face. I reached across the table and clasped my hand into a fist to simulate the gentle grasp of his hand in mine as we prayed together, thanking God, the Father, for this moment and meal. Every part of the evening, prepping the meal, cooking, the cleaning up, was all about Jesus being there with me. He was present and his devotion, his love for me, was so incredibly real. Barely breathing, I could hardly take the first bite. Tears pooled my eyes and flowed, clouding my vision as I willed myself to continue through the evening. Food stuck in my throat, and sobs forced me to pause, but my heart was mysteriously content as we ate together.
I will be the first to tell you, purposing to engage in this experience was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Deep brokenness revealed raw and exposed hurt that even surprised me. Yet, my life’s devotion to the Lord expanded that night and changed for all eternity. The intense longings of my heart were filled with the presence of my King. My heart was completely empty of myself as I placed my plate upon the table. All my vulnerability, desire, and need laid bare before the Lord. I knew it. He knew it. And like a gift, Jesus, ever so graciously and tenderly, understood my brokenness and lovingly breathed life back into my soul.
Because of his grace and love, together with my surrender in asking him to occupy the role of my greatest need, he proved to not only be my Lord, but my husband, my companion, my closest friend. It doesn’t make sense, but it happened. My emptiness was captivated with worship and gave him room to quench my soul with his love and healing presence. He became what I needed most that night. Jesus literally consumed my heart.
My experience with Jesus was not about a widow who was lonely, it was about a daughter of God who was needy, and Jesus fully met my need. I said so much, without words. He healed so much, without words and by his touch. My devoted heart said it all. I was in love with Jesus, my Lord and Master, and it seemed as if the world stopped as I bowed my heart before him and rejoiced with him over the miracle of our relationship and his mighty presence.
Dining with Jesus changed me. Beautiful and unexplainable intimacy with Him is written upon my soul forever. The nearness of my Savior, when my longing heart was searching for answers and love, proved him to be faithful, present, and desperate to satisfy my vast need. This is Jesus, the lover of my soul.